Canton, GA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Canton is a city of about 29,000 residents in northwestern Georgia, roughly 40 miles north of Atlanta. It is the county seat of Cherokee County. Prostitution has been documented in the city, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. There have also been documented cases of both adult and child sex trafficking. 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.”

Tactics used to address demand in the city include sex buyer arrests, identity disclosure, and employment loss. In January 2012, the managing editor of a local newspaper, the Cherokee Tribune, was fired after being arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution at a Canton hotel. Canton police arrested him along with an alleged prostituted woman and her alleged pimp. The sex buyer said he had met the woman at a bar and she told police he paid her $200 for oral sex. He later admitted to being “lonely” and meeting the woman on a website. The man’s identity was released to the press, after which he was fired from his job at the newspaper. The man’s supervisor said of the incident, “We feel sorrow for [him], the Tribune staff and the newspaper. However, we expect all of our employees to live up to high ethical and professional standards.”

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 sexual abuse 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 sexual abuse. This led to the arrest of two 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 March, 2023, a Cherokee County grand jury formally charged a man with trafficking a girl who was under 18 at the time for the purpose of sexual servitude and prostitution in December 2019. According to his indictment filed March, 2023, the 46 year old man from Atlanta was charged with two counts of trafficking for sexual servitude and one count of pandering for a person under 18. Per his arrest warrant filed in January, 2020, Atlanta lawyer was accused of picking up a then-16-year-old girl at a local high school, where she was then taken to a Canton hotel where he paid the juvenile $500 in order to sexually abuse her. According to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, the defendant and the teen met online.

Key Partners

  • Canton Police Department
  • Cherokee Tribune
  • Georgia Attorney General’s Office
    • Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
State Georgia
Type City
Population 29459
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