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Dorchester County is a county of about 163,000 residents, located northwest of Charleston in central South Carolina. It includes the communities of St. George, North Charleston, Summerville, and Ladson, among others. Prostitution has posed considerable problems in the county, and has been linked to many other crimes including sex trafficking, kidnapping, sexual assault, and homicide.
In addition to city-level reduction efforts, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office officers have conducted at least one operation targeting sex buyers in unincorporated areas of the county. In February 1998, the Charleston Post and Courier reported that the DCSO had intercepted 12 male sex buyers following a sting at an I-95 rest stop near St. George. The offenders were apprehended by a police decoy. It is unclear if the arrestees’ identities were publicized at the time. The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with city police departments on numerous web-based reverse stings, and the identities of the arrested men have been publicized.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the county. In September 2016, a Dorchester County deputy was fired after he allegedly met with a woman in a North Charleston motel and agreed to pay her $80 for sex. According to an incident report from the North Charleston Police Department, the man made contact with an undercover officer after seeing her online ad, contacting her, and arranging to meet her for paid sex.
- Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office
- North Charleston Police Department
- Summerville Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Police Arrest 12 in I-95 Sex Sting,” Charleston Post and Courier, February 25 1998.
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure, Loss of Employment:
- https://www.journalscene.com/archives/dorchester-county-deputy-fired-after-arrest-on-prostitution-charge (2016)
- https://www.postandcourier.com/archives/dorchester-county-deputy-fired-after-allegedly-soliciting-a-prostitute (2016)
Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Police Blotter; Woman Abducted after Breakdown,” Charleston Post and Courier, August 14 2008.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Nine Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Sumter Daily Item, August 14 1987.
- https://www.journalscene.com/crime/arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2017)