Bowling Green, KY

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Bowling Green is a city of roughly 55,000 residents in southwestern Kentucky, about midway between Nashville and Louisville.  Prostitution and human trafficking are known to have occurred in the city.  A 2013 sex trafficking case involving a minor is the only case leading to an arrest in the city, although advocates from Catholic Charities believe underground prostitution and trafficking is not rare.

In November 2013, police announced that after a three-week investigation, Kentucky State Police served an Edmonson County grand jury indictment warrant on an alleged trafficker. The charges included one count of human trafficking-victim under 18 years old, 10 counts of first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor-illegal sex act, 10 counts of possess/view matter portraying sexual performance by a minor, 10 counts of first-degree sodomy, 10 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, 10 counts of incest, 10 counts of use of a minor under 16-years-old in a sex performance and distribution of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor.  All the allegations involved the same child victim If convicted as charged, the man could receive a 70-year prison sentence.

In July, 2019, Bowling Green Police arrested four people as the result of an investigation into prostitution occurring in two local massage parlors. According to an arrest citation, Bowling Green police received tips of suspicious behavior, and researched several local massage parlors online.  The phone numbers for the massage businesses had 39 ads on websites where commercial sex acts are advertised, and one was specifically named in some of the posts.  Detectives conducted surveillance at the businesses, noticing that the customers were all males, and search warrants were executed by BGPD detectives and investigators from the Attorney General’s office.  Officials found the employees did not have a massage license. One defendant was charged with promoting prostitution ( 2 or more prostitutes), 2nd degree wanton endangerment and practicing massage therapy without a license.  Others were arrested for engaging in organized crime, promoting prostitution, and practicing massage therapy without a license.

To combat consumer-level demand driving local prostitution and sex trafficking, at least five reverse stings have been conducted by Bowling Green police, and the identities of the men arrested were publicized. For example, in June 2014, police conducted a human trafficking enforcement operation at a hotel in Bowling Green, resulting in the arrest of eight sex buyers who were charged with soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Key Partners

  • Bowling Green Police Department

Key Sources

State Kentucky
Type City
Population 54244
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