Cary, NC

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

Cary is suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, with over 176,000 residents. Prostitution is a well-known problem in the city, and has been linked to local cases of child endangerment and adult and minor sex trafficking. For example, an undercover operation at a Cary motel near RDU International Airport resulted in police charging a 21-year-old man with Sex Trafficking a 17-year-old girl.

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 first known reverse sting in the city occurred in 2012, in response to complaints to the Cary Police Department from a local hotel. The web-based operation involved CPD officers posting an online ad, and having a decoy police officer and support team meet interested parties at the hotel. The operation resulted in the arrest of five sex buyers. The names, ages, addresses, and photos of the arrestees were released to the media; each was charged with solicitation of prostitution. In May 2013, the Cary News reported that all but one of the sex buyers had had their charges “tentatively dismissed through ‘deferred prosecution'” diversion agreements that included 42 hours of required community service work at local nonprofits.

In July 2017, HSI special agents and local law enforcement carried out an undercover prostitution sting which resulted in the arrest of a man who was charged with sex trafficking three victims. Investigators determined that the man began prostituting one victim in 2016 in New Jersey. He started prostituting a second woman before taking the two to North Carolina in the summer of 2017. According to the Department of Justice, he recruited a third victim once in North Carolina. Local news reported that the man “was accused of physically abusing one of the victims on a weekly basis. He exploited the drug addictions of the other two.” The man was sentenced to ten years in prison.

In 2018, authorities charged a 23-year-old man with five felonies connected to two victims of human trafficking. Charges including human trafficking of an adult victim, human trafficking of a child victim, promoting prostitution, and holding a minor in sexual servitude could earn the man life in prison without parole.

In early 2020, Cary police responded to neighborhood calls concerning prostitution in the area, resulting in the arrest of two female massage business owners who also engaged in prostitution. The business was directly next door to an indoor playground for children. Local news confirmed that men tried to show up to the massage business the next day, but were unable to enter due to the doors being locked.

Key Partners

  • Cary Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations

Key Sources

Buyer Arrests with Identity Disclosure:

  • “Cary Teens, 41-Year-Old Charged in Prostitution Bust,” Raleigh News & Observer, August 20 2012.
  • “Prostitution Charges Rare in Cary,” NBC/WNCN-TV 17, August 21 2012.
  • “Police: Local Teens Posted Online Sex Ad; Cary Teens, 41-Year-Old Man Cited in Prostitution Bust,” Cary News, August 26 2012.

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

Community Service:

  • “Prostitution Sting Brings 1 Conviction,” Cary News, May 1 2013.

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

  • “Cary Police Charge Woman Solicited Detective for Prostitution, Endangered Children,” Raleigh News & Observer, April 28 2012.
  • “Woman Charged after Two Children Found in Room Used for Prostitution,” CBS/WRAL-TV 5, April 28 2012.

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State North Carolina
Type City
Population 176987
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