Cherokee County, SC
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Cherokee County, South Carolina and has a population of about 56,000 and its county seat is the city of Gaffney. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking, and some cases have also involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to in state laws as “child pornography).
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. Demand reduction tactics used in the county include reverse stings, other arrests of sex buyers, the disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss. For example, in February, 2006, Cherokee County Metro Narcotics Agents arrested three people during an undercover prostitution sting. The men were each charged with solicitation of prostitution. They were released on $1,087 bond. They were arrested after soliciting sex from undercover officers posing as prostituted persons. Their identities were publicly disclosed.
In September, 2017, two people, including a 911 dispatcher and unpaid reserve deputy in Cherokee County, were arrested and charged with numerous child commercial sexual abuse crimes after an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division. According to warrants, one man distributed multiple photos that constituted child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state criminal codes) on Facebook. The warrants also say he sent sexually explicit photos of his genitals to a minor. The man and an accomplice were also accused of trying to encourage a minor to participate in prostitution, negotiating a price over Facebook messages, before agreeing to pay for sex. One defendant was charged with three counts of second-degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, two counts of first-degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, second degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor, Participation in the Prostitution of a Minor, third-degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and Disseminating Obscene Material to a Minor. The other was charged with two counts of second-degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor, and Participation in the Prostitution of a Minor.
- Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
- South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM, Drug Offenses, Violence:
- https://www.gaffneyledger.com/articles/human-trafficking-and-underage-prostitution/ (2015)
- https://www.wbtw.com/sc-detention-officer-gets-prostitution-meth-charges/ (2016)
- https://www.wspa.com/2-accused-of-child-porn-prostitution-1-man-is-911-dispatcher/ (2017)
- https://www.wyff4.com/2-upstate-men-accused-of-child-porn-and-prostitution-warrants-say (2017)
- https://www.fitsnews.com/cherokee-county-sc-prostitution-arrests-made/ (2017)
- https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/ (2017)
- https://www.gastongazette.com/man-arrested-on-prostitution-charge/ (2018)
- https://www.wltx.com/45-arrests-made-in-sc-child-sex-predator-sting (2018)
- https://www.wspa.com/gaffney-man-charged-with-killing-woman-hiding-body-appears-in-court/ (2019)
- https://abcnews.go.com/attacked-spas-targeted-prostitution-stings (2021)
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