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Fulton County is located in North-Central Georgia with a population of about 1.066 million. Its county seat and largest city is Atlanta, and other substantial cities within Fulton County include College Park, Johns Creek, and Alpharetta.
Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented and longstanding problems throughout the cities and unincorporated areas of Fulton County. For example, the county was one of the sites of the 2009 three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. This operation, known as Operation Cross Country III, included enforcement operations in 29 cities across the country, including College Park. In 2016, Alpharetta police announced that an undercover prostitution sting led them to a teenager being held against her will in a human trafficking operation. Police had responded to an ad on Backpage.com and an undercover detective met a woman at a hotel off Mansell Road. In 2017, a College Park man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking and pimping of a 14-year-old girl, on charges including trafficking for sexual servitude, pimping, pandering, child molestation, statutory rape, simple battery and sexual exploitation of a minor. In 2017, three Alpharetta men and a resident from Roswell were charged with pandering and violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, in connection to a now-defunct prostitution ring operating in DeKalb County.
Efforts to curtail commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in the county have included those focusing on combating demand for commercial sex. For example, Atlanta was one of the “early adopters” of tactics used to combat demand for commercial sex. The city has been a pioneer in public education and awareness campaigns focused on demand for trafficked sex and prostitution. Reverse stings and shaming efforts are known to have occurred periodically since 1976, if not before. Recent examples include a web-based operation conducted in 2018 that was designed to apprehend those seeking to buy sex with children in the Atlanta region. Police arrested nearly two dozen people. Officers pretended to be teenagers online in order to lure the alleged predators from all over metro Atlanta to meet up and pay for sex. Detectives said some of the men brought money with them when they pulled up to the covert house expecting to have rendezvous with a 14-year-old boy or girl. The joint “Operation Spring Cleaning,” led by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Gwinnett County Police Department, led to 23 arrests over five days. The identities of the men were included in press releases.
Atlanta’s most well-known effort to combat demand is its “Dear John” campaign from the mid-2000s, which was an effort to educate the public about the demand for sex purchased from prostituted and trafficked women and girls, and to deter men from buying sex. Other communities within the county have also addressed consumer-level demand. For example, in early 2015, the Johns Creek Police Department launched an anti-prostitution investigation after receiving reports that a local resident was pimping out her stepdaughter online. JCPD officers, with the support of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and officers with the Alpharetta and Roswell Police Departments, placed decoy advertisements on a website known for prostitution activity and arranged to meet the individuals who responded at a Johns Creek hotel. Fifteen individuals were arrested as a result; although the identities of and charges levied against the offenders were not individually reported, police did report “four people were charged with prostitution, seven were charged with pimping, three were charged with misdemeanor pandering, and one was charged with felony pandering for soliciting a minor for sex.” At least one sex buyer was arrested during the investigation, after arranging to meet what he thought was an underage girl for commercial sex at the hotel. That buyer’s name and mug shot were publicized in local media outlets.
In March 2017, an undercover operation resulted in 16 people being arrested after investigators raided a hotel in College Park. The operation team included two female undercover officers serving as decoys, and arrested those attempting to purchase sex. In 2017 a local ordinance was passed in Fulton County that amended prior ordinances for prostitution: in areas that are known to authorities for frequent prostitution arrests, police would be given additional latitude to investigate a loitering suspect who is engaging in such suspicious activities as repeatedly circling the block in a car, stopping their motor vehicle on a Fulton road to beckon to someone on the street or repeatedly stopping, or attempting to stop, drivers by hailing them down. Police will also have additional powers to investigate those who remain in their cars in a parking lot or vacant area for an extended period of time.
- Fulton CountySheriff’s Office
- Fulton County District Attorney’s Office
- Sex Trafficking Division
- College Park Police Department
- Alpharetta Police Department
- Johns Creek Police Department
- Roswell Police Department
- Atlanta Police Department
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation
- Georgia Attorney General’s Office
- “57 Persons Arrested”, Waycross Journal-Herald, February 24 1979.
- “72 Men Arrested in Midtown Sting on Prostitution”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 27 1985.
- “25 Male Customers, 3 Women Held in Escort Service Sting”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 16 1988.
- “15 Arrested in Upscale Prostitution Service”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 1 1991.
- “Soliciting Charge Costs Wilson $553 Fine”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 14 1995.
- “Police Pull Metropolitan Parkway Wares Off the Street; Arresting Prostitutes and Their Customers in Sting Sweeps May Help the Area’s Reputation, Officers and Residents Say”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 25 1998.
- “‘Sweep’ Nets $10,000 in Drugs and 214 Arrests”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 1 1998.
- “Shock in Store for ‘Johns’ in Bid to End Child Sex Trade”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 9 2006.
- “Police Targeted Suspected Prostitutes, Johns”, CBS/WGCL-TV 46, February 5 2010.
- “Undercover Prostitution Sting Arrests 79, Mostly Hookers and Johns”, Midtown Patch, May 16 2011.
- https://thegavoice.com/atlanta-police-arrest-50-male-prostitutes-in-operation-summer-heat/ (2011)
- “Police Crackdown on Prostitution in Midtown”, CBS/WGCL-TV 46, March 31 2012.
- “570 Sex Buyers Arrested in National Super Bowl Sting Operation,” Press Release, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, February 2 2015.
- 15 Arrested in Johns Creek Prostitution Bust,” ABC/WSB-TV 2, March 2 2015.
- “15 Arrested in Johns Creek Sex Work Sting,” WAVE-FM 90.1, March 3 2015.
- “15 Charged in Johns Creek Prostitution Ring,” NBC/WXIA-TV 11, March 3 2015.
- “Johns Creek Police Make 15 Arrests in Prostitution Sting,” Macon Telegraph, March 3 2015.
- “Johns Creek Prostitution Sting Nets 15,” CBS/WGCL-TV 46, March 3 2015.
- https://www.wabe.org/fulton-co-sheriffs-captain-arrested-prostitution-sting (2015)
- https://www.pressreader.com/the-atlanta-journal-constitution (2017)
- https://www.wsbtv.com/exclusive-prostitution-sting-nabs-16-in-south-fulton-county (2017)
- https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/arrested-metro-atlanta-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://www.wsbtv.com/college-park-police-bust-prostitutes-johns-underco (2017)
- https://www.accessatlanta.com/prostitution-sting-nabs-south-fulton-county (2017)
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Law and Order: Alpharetta Man Jailed in Alleged Net Sex Ring,” Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution, July 10 1998.
- “Internet Prostitution Ring Arrests,” Rome News-Tribune, June 20 1999.
- https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/atlanta/press-release (2010)
- “In Your Community: North Fulton Casts Sharp Eye on Parlors; Alpharetta, Johns Creek Move toward Stronger Controls,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 17 2013.
- “Spa Owners in Alpharetta Ask City Council to Clarify Language of New Ordinance,” Alpharetta Neighbor, July 10 2013.
- “Alpharetta City Council Passes Massage Parlor Ordinance,” Alpharetta Neighbor, July 17 2013.
- “Johns Creek Residents Upset about Questionable Activity at Massage Parlors,” Johns Creek Neighbor, April 23 2013.
- “Residents Call for Vigilant Stance on Massage Parlors; Seven Businesses along Ga. 141 in Johns Creek Targeted,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 24 2013.
- “In Your Community: North Fulton Casts Sharp Eye on Parlors; Alpharetta, Johns Creek Move Toward Stronger Controls,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 17 2013.
- “Johns Creek Police Shut down Massage Parlor, Arrest Five,” Johns Creek Neighbor, July 11 2013.
- “Documents Give Insight into Spa Raided Twice in 2 Weeks,” ABC/WSB-TV 2, August 2 2013.
- “Johns Creek Spa Busted for Prostitution,” ABC/WSB-TV 2, March 19 2014.
- “Northside: Johns Creek Passes Massage, Spa Measure,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 17 2014.
- “Johns Creek Cracks down on Spa, Massage Businesses,” Johns Creek Patch, July 18 2014.
- “Human Trafficking in Johns Creek: How City Took Aim,” Appen Media Group, September 10 2014.
- https://www.wsbtv.com/2-arrested-in-undercover-prostitution-sting-at-alpharetta-hotel (2016)
- https://www.collegeparkga.com/ArchiveCenter (2016)
- https://www.collegeparkga.com/DocumentCenter (2016)
- http://www.mdjonline.com/amended-fulton-ordinance-aimed-to-stop-sex-trafficking (2017)
- https://patch.com/college-park-man-gets-20-years-pimping-14-year-old-girl (2017)
- https://patch.com/georgia/alpharetta/alpharetta-roswell-men-charged-prostitution-bust (2017)
- https://www.wsbtv.com/north-fulton-county/metro-sex-trafficking-sting-rescues-nearly-160-children-authorities-say (2018)
- https://www.macon.com/9 arrested in GA sex trafficking sting (2020)
- https://thebharatexpressnews.com/georgia-ag-is-suing-deputy-for-sex-trafficking in Cobb (2023)