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Decatur is a city with around 54,000 residents, situated near Huntsville, Athens and Madison in northern Alabama, within Morgan County. Cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the community, and residents have complained to local law enforcement about prostitution activity in some city neighborhoods. For example, in August, 2022, a man was arrested after being charged with promoting prostitution. An indictment filed in the Circuit Court of Morgan County stated the man “did knowingly advance or profit” from the prostitution of a person under the age of 16. He was arrested on August 31, and booked into the Morgan County Jail.
In response, the Decatur Police Department has conducted at least one reverse sting targeting sex buyers. In April 2007, the DPD’s Organized Crime Unit placed a female undercover officer along city streets in an area known for prostitution. Five male sex buyers were arrested as a result; an additional man was arrested after attempting to recruit the decoy to “work” for him. All of the men’s names and other identifying information were publicized by local media outlets. When asked about the operation, a representative with the DPD noted that “complaints received during recent City Council district meetings [had] led to the undercover operation.”
- Decatur Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Police: Trio Forced Underaged Girls into Prostitution,” Huntsville Times, March 1 2007.
- https://www.wdhn.com/decatur-man-charged-with-promoting-child-prostitution/ (2022)
- https://spotonalabama.com/decatur-man-charged-with-promoting-child.html (2022)
- https://www.waff.com/decatur-man-arrested-promoting-child-prostitution/ (2022)
- https://www.waaytv.com/decatur-man-charged-with-promoting-child-prostitution-morgan-county (2022)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Council Outlaws Prostitution in Decatur,” Huntsville Times, April 4 1998.
- “Decatur Woman Wants Law on Prostitution,” Huntsville Times, July 21 1998.
- “Police Hear Complaints,” Florence Times Daily, September 23 1998.
- “2 Arrested in City Prostitution Sting,” Decatur Daily, February 1 2006.
- “Man, Woman Arrested in Decatur after Undercover Operation Targeting Prostitution, Drugs,” Huntsville Times, January 30 2014.
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