DeKalb County, GA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

DeKalb County is a county of approximately 713,000 residents, located in central Georgia. It contains 10% of the city of Atlanta within its boundaries, as well as the communities of Decatur, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, and Stone Mountain. Prostitution and the sex trafficking (of both adults and minors) are well-documented problems in the county. Cases of prostitution-related homicides have also been reported.

In addition to city-level efforts to curtail demand, the DeKalb County Police Department has staged periodic reverse stings from undisclosed locations within the county. In 1988, for example, Cobb County law enforcement officers and DeKalb police partnered with Atlanta’s Metro Drug and Vice department to arrest 25 male customers as well as three women involved in a phone escort service in a 5-night reverse sting/sting operation.

In early 2015, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office reported that DCPD officers had again targeted demand, arresting three johns as part of the ninth annual National Day of Johns Arrests. The operation was conducted with the support of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office. Although it was noted that the investigations were launched between January 25, 2015 and February 1, 2015, the logistical details of the DCPD operation– including the identities of the men arrested– were not disclosed to the pubic.  Similarly, in February 2016, DCPD officers arrested three johns as part of Cook County Sheriff’s Office-led National Johns Suppression Initiative, which ran from January 17, 2016 to February 7, 2016. The logistical details of the operation were again not reported to the press.

In February, 2019, a five-day undercover operation based in Brookhaven was conducted that spanned the course of Super Bowl weekend, held in Atlanta.  Men contacted decoys online, believing they were 14-year-old children, and either engaged in sexually explicit conversations with them and/or distributed obscene photographs to them.  Many traveled to Brookhaven with the intent of meeting a child for sex, and were arrested by undercover agents after arriving at the designated meeting location.  A DeKalb County Grand Jury indicted 24 people for allegedly soliciting minors for sex in connection with the multi-jurisdictional operation titled, “Operation Interception.”  Each of the defendants, ranging in age from 20 to 55 at the time of the crime, was charged with at least one count of utilizing an electronic device to seduce, solicit, or entice a child, in separate indictments returned by Grand Jurors.  Other charges, including human trafficking, criminal attempt to commit aggravated child molestation, and obscene internet contact with a child, varied per defendant.  The DeKalb County DA’s office released the identities of all the arrested men.


Key Partners

  • DeKalb County Police Department
  • Cobb County Sheriff’s Office
  • Atlanta Police Department
  • Georgia Attorney General’s Office

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “DeKalb Woman, Escort Firm Owner, Guilty of Pimping; Could Get Five Years and $5,000 Fine,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 4 1987.
  • “Residents Fear Truck Stop Would Fuel Crime; Bouldercrest Area Will Take Case to Commission,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 9 1994.
  • “Police Nab 14 in Hotel Sweep; Cops Respond to Neighbors’ Complaints,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 30 1994.
  • “Residents to Motel: Help Us Fight Crime,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 27 1994.
  • “Fourth Brothel Raided, Police Say,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 2 1999.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:


State Georgia
Type County
Population 713340
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