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Charleston is a coastal city with a population of 152,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking in the city are well documented for over 140 years, and includes a relatively recent case of a prostituted woman being murdered in 2013. In November, 2021, three people were arrested after authorities discovered a prostitution and pornography-producing operation at a home in a West Ashley neighborhood. The Charleston Police Department arrested the three individuals, all Charleston residents, following a months-long investigation into suspected narcotics, prostitution, and a pornography production operation at a home on Dragonfly Drive near Bees Ferry Road. The multi-law enforcement agency investigation began in September of 2021 when authorities received reports of suspected prostitution out of the home. Police learned that they were selling drugs and running a brothel out of the Charleston house.
Local efforts to address such problems include operations designed to combat the consumer level demand that drives all prostitution, sex trafficking, and other crimes inherent in the sex trade. The Charleston Police Department conducts street level reverse stings in areas about which they have received complaints about prostitution. The names, ages, and addresses of arrested sex buyers have been reported to the media. Vehicles have also been seized when used in the commission of a crime, including soliciting prostitution.
In July, 2017, the First Baptist School confirmed that its headmaster resigned after his arrest by North Charleston Police. He had been charged with prostitution and open container/. Soon afterward, the First Baptist School of Charleston received the resignation of the sex buyer effective July 6, 2017. According to the incident report, the North Charleston S.P.E.E.D. Team conducted a prostitution enforcement operation with an undercover female officer posing as a “street-level prostitute.” The suspect made contact with the undercover officer in the area of Remount Road and Buskirk Avenue, and during a conversation, solicited a sex act in exchange for $30. Officers initiated a traffic stop and placed him under arrest.
- Charleston Police Department
- Vice, Team One, and Team One Power Squad units
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Charleston Puts High Price Tag on Sin”, Pittsburgh Press, October 23 1951.
- “Man, Woman Arrested on Prostitution Charges”, CBS/WCSC-TV 5, March 14 2012.
Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/entities/publication/Prostitution 19th Century Charleston (1880s)
- “Charleston Orders Red Lights Out”, Miami News, March 18 1941.
- “Charleston Vice Conditions Are ‘Exposed’ by Magazine”, Charleston News and Courier, May 26 1942.
- “Fromberg Says Segregation No Answer to Prostitution”, Charleston News and Courier, March 19 1946.
- “Grand Jury Orders Prostitution Curb”, Charleston News and Courier, September 25 1949.
- “Charleston Police Chief Charged with Extortion”, Sumter Daily Item, March 6 1975.
- “Fulton St. House One of Last Relics of Red Light District”, Charleston News and Courier, October 27 1986.
- “Prostitution Gave Legitimate Massage a Bad Name in S.C.”, The State (Columbia, S.C.), December 13 1988.
- “Pay for Sex, Lose Your Car? No Sale, Says Senate Panel”, The State (Columbia, S.C.), May 24 1993.
- “Multicounty Prostitution Operation Busted”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, February 4 1994.
- “Alleged Slavery Ring Linked to Lake City, Charleston, Feds Say”, Sumter Daily Item, April 24 1998.
- “Stronger Prostitution Law Urged”, Charleston Post and Courier, August 24 2000.
- “Records Suggest Union Troops Monitored Prostitution in S.C.”, Tuscaloosa News, April 4 2001.
- “Breaking Cycle of Drugs, Prostitution”, Charleston Post and Courier, February 27 2006.
- “High-Tech Hookers in Charleston County”, CBS/WCSC-TV 5, September 26 2008.
- “Local Group Helps Former Prostitutes”, CBS/WCSC-TV 5, August 22 2012.
- “Feds Indict Charleston Man on Child Sex-Trafficking Charges”, CBS/WCSC-TV 5, April 11 2013.
- https://www.live5news.com/three-arrested-after-prostitution-porn-producing-operation-discovered/ (2021)
- https://www.counton2.com/neighbors-react-prostitution–drug-bust-saw-signs-of-trouble/ (2021)
- https://www.wjcl.com/article/south-carolina-pornography-meth/ (2021)
- https://wezl.iheart.com/human-trafficking-task-force-provides-new-data-on-lowcountry-cases/ (2022)
Documented Violence Against Prostituted Persons:
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