Cumberland County, 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

Cumberland County is in central North Carolina with roughly 335,000 residents, making it the state’s fifth most populous county. The county contains the city of Fayetteville and has had numerous well-documented cases of prostitution and sex trafficking, in addition to a wide range of crimes involving prostituted persons and sex buyers.

For example, in May 2009, a women engaged in prostitution was stabbed in the back five times by a male sex buyer, who admitted to previously murdering a prostituted woman in the city. This predation on sex sellers and trafficking victims in Fayetteville is not an isolated case; a serial killer who specifically targeted women offering prostitution was active in the city in the mid-2000s.  In 2008, police detectives believed several serial rapists were targeting sex sellers, and in subsequent years, at least one was captured.

To address the wide range of crimes and disorder surround commercial sex issue, local law enforcement has targeted consumer-level demand by conducting street-level reverse stings since at least 1976. In March and April of that year, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputies and FPD officers arrested 71 individuals for prostitution-related offenses, including several armed servicemen. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the Fayetteville Police Department have continued to conduct street level prostitution stings with undercover female officers posing as prostituted women and male officers posing as potential clients. The photos, names, and other details about the arrested sex buyers are reported to the media with details of the arrests.

In August 2019, multiple agencies carried out a reverse sting operation targeting human trafficking and prostitution. Agencies involved included the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the SBI, Fayetteville PD, and a non-profit group called Five Sparrows. According to local news, the agencies posed as solicitors on more than five dating services, looking for patterns and red flags. Another stage of the investigation involved “officials going to the streets and using tips they’ve received over time.” Eleven people were arrested on prostitution related crimes, including sex buyers and sex sellers.

Key Partners

  • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fayetteville Police Department
  • SBI
  • Five Sparrows

Key Sources

Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

Background on Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Violence Committed Against Prostituted Women in the Area:

State North Carolina
Type County
Population 335508
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