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Brookhaven is a city of about 55,000 residents in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta and is located in western DeKalb County. Prostitution and sex trafficking (of both adults and minors) have been well-documented problems in Brookhaven. For example, in July 2021, Brookhaven police arrested six people at three massage parlor locations in the city. In total, police charged two people with prostitution, one with “keeping a place of prostitution,” and one with “operating without a license to massage.” Police charged a fifth person with both keeping a place of prostitution and operating without a license, and a sixth person with prostitution and operating without a license. All the massage parlors were located on Buford Highway. Police did not identify anyone arrested, but did confirm that all six were massage parlor employees. Such commercial sex activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. The Attorney General’s Office, with help from the Georgia Governor and First Lady and leaders in the Georgia General Assembly, created the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit in 2019 to recover victims of trafficking and to prosecute sex buyers and traffickers. In 2021, the Unit initiated 25 cases, arrested nine individuals, investigated and prosecuted 51 defendants, and recovered 107 victims. In January 2022, the Unit indicted 15 defendants, including nine men charged with soliciting sex from minors.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. The DeKalb County Police Department has collaborated with local police departments in Brookhaven and other cities to conduct periodic reverse stings. Other operations have involved large multi-jurisdictional efforts. For example, in an operation in February 2019, more than 50 people were arrested as part of sex trafficking sting operations conducted by federal, state, and local law enforcement — including Brookhaven and Dunwoody Police — in the days around the Super Bowl in Altanta. Twenty-one suspects were arrested in Brookhaven as part of “Operation Interception,” coordinated by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, GBI, Brookhaven Police Department, and dozens of other area agencies. The men arrested were charged with soliciting sex with minors over the internet and other charges. Twenty of the people arrested were charged with violating the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. In a separate operation, 32 people were arrested in Dunwoody and faced sex charges ranging from prostitution to enticing a child for indecent purposes.
In addition to reverse stings, sex buyers have also been arrested in investigations involving real victims of sex trafficking. In July 2022, the Georgia Attorney General announced the arrest of two men on charges of solicitation, statutory rape, and aggravated child molestation involving a 15-year-old victim following an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. During a forensic interview in 2019, the victim disclosed she had been sold for sex by two men over a period of several months in 2018. The sex traffickers were subsequently indicted in September 2021, and the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit continued its investigation to identify anyone who purchased the victim for sex. This led to the arrest of two sex buyers, one in June 2022 in Canton and one in July 2022 in Brookhaven. The Canton and Brookhaven Police Departments assisted in the investigation and the sex buyers’ identities were released to the press. In August 2022, the sex buyer arrested in Brookhaven pleaded guilty to one count of human trafficking by solicitation and was sentenced to 15 years, including five to be served in prison. His name will also be placed on the sex offender registry. This was the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit’s first conviction of a sex buyer.
- Brookhaven Police Department
- DeKalb County Police Department
- Atlanta Police Department
- Georgia Attorney General’s Office
- Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
- Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice
- U.S. Attorney’s Office
- Department of Homeland Security
- Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- https://www.ajc.com/news/local/torpy-large-super-bowl-trafficking-roundups-here-the-deal (2019)
- https://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/national/fbi-169-arrested-human-trafficking-investigation-leading-super-bowl (2019)
- https://www.reporternewspapers.net/sex-sting-operations-in-brookhaven-dunwoody-net-53-arrests (2019)
- https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/police-report-offers-different-version-of-brewster-mans-sex-sting (2019)
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://law.georgia.gov/press-releases/carr-human-trafficking-prosecution-unit-arrests-two-solicitation (2022)
- https://law.georgia.gov/press-releases/carr-clayton-county-man-sentenced-15-years-soliciting-sex-15-year-old (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “DeKalb Woman, Escort Firm Owner, Guilty of Pimping; Could Get Five Years and $5,000 Fine,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 4 1987.
- “DeKalb Urged to Fight Child Prostitution,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 17 2003.
- “Pimp who Targeted Runaway Teen Gets 60 Years,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 30 2007.
- “City’s Shame Remains Despite Crackdowns, Atlanta Is Still a Hub in Selling Children for Sex,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 2 2010.
- “DeKalb Police Say Men Forced Teens into Prostitution,” Georgia Newsday, October 13 2011.
- “Teen Imprisoned and Forced into Prostitution Escapes, Helps Free 2nd Teen,” Atlanta Examiner, October 13 2011.
- “DeKalb County Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Pimping Minors,” CBS/WGCL-TV 46, January 27 2012.
- “2 Indicted in Sex Trafficking of Underage Girls in DeKalb County,” Atlanta Examiner, April 27 2012.
- “2 Arrested for Allegedly Raping, Trafficking Runaways for Sex in DeKalb County,” Atlanta Examiner, February 4 2013.
- “Sex Trafficking Victims Rescued, 2 Arrested,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4 2013.
- “DeKalb Man Convicted for Sex Trafficking Teens,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 19 2013.
- “DeKalb; DeKalb Man Convicted for Sex Trafficking Teens,” Atlanta Examiner, March 21 2013.
- “Pair Accused of Running Brothel; Man Convicted Trafficking Homeless Teen for Sex,” Atlanta Examiner, June 7 2014.
- “Police: Brookhaven Man Arrested on Human Trafficking Charge,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 6 2015.
- “Disappearance Of Georgia Sex Trafficking Victim Amiyah Roach Not Being Taken Seriously, Family Says,” Atlanta Daily World, July 22 2015.
- https://law.georgia.gov/key-issues/human-trafficking (2019)
- https://law.georgia.gov/press-releases/carr-human-trafficking-unit-indicts-two-individuals-charges-human (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Nab 14 in Hotel Sweep; Cops Respond to Neighbors’ Complaints,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 30 1994.
- “Residents to Motel: Help Us Fight Crime,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 27 1994.
- “Fourth Brothel Raided, Police Say,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 2 1999.
- “Hundreds of Hidden Prostitutes Found in Metro Atlanta,” Gadsden Times Daily, September 20 1999.
- https://patch.com/georgia/brookhaven/police-make-arrests-at-suspected-place-of-prostitution (2012)
- https://brookhavenpost.co/brookhaven-police-arrest-two-during-undercover-prostitution-investigation (2015)
- https://www.ajc.com/news/arrested-undercover-prostitution-sting-brookhaven-spa (2015)
- https://patch.com/georgia/decatur/5-indicted-dekalb-prostitution-case (2018)
- https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/breaking-swat-situation-shuts-down-part-buford-highway-dekalb (2018)
- https://patch.com/georgia/brookhaven/6-massage-parlor-employees-face-prostitution-charges-police (2021)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “2 Arrests in Sex-for-Hire Murders,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 27 2002.
- “DeKalb County Pimp Sentenced to Life for Murder,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 14 2011.
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