Graniteville, SC

Tactics Used

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

Graniteville is a census-designated place in Aiken County, South Carolina, with a population of about 3,300.  It lies along U.S. Route 1, five miles west of Aiken in Horse Creek Valley near the city of Aiken (pop. 31,000).  The community is  part of the Augusta, Georgia metropolitan area, located in the Western portion of South Carolina; Augusta is directly across the Savannah River (which marks the border between Georgia and South Carolina) from Aiken County.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities within the county, and in its communities and unincorporated areas.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream that motivates all prostitution and sex trafficking.  Reverse stings have been conducted in Aiken county. In July, 2005 an undercover operation by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office  led to the arrest of six men along Highway 421 in the towns of Gloverville and Langley, after receiving complaints from citizens about the activity along Highway 421.  A similar operation in June 2008 resulted in five arrested sex buyers. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in news releases after both operations.  At that time, a conviction for prostitution in South Carolina carried penalties of a fine up to $200 or imprisonment up to 30 days for a 1st offense; fines up to $1000 or imprisonment up to six months for a 2nd; and fines up to $3000 or imprisonment for not less than one year, or both, for 3rd and subsequent offenses.

Sex buyers have also been arrested in the town of Graniteville. For example, in February, 2021 a Graniteville man was charged in federal court with Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Sexual Activity, in the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.  The man had been a teacher at Ridge Spring-Monetta High School in Ridge Spring, S.C.  The defendant was accused of knowingly picking up a minor in Columbia County on or about July 20, 2019, and taking the minor across state lines to engage in prostitution.  The case is being investigated by the FBI.

Key Partners

  • Aiken County Sheriff’s Office
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia

Key Sources

Arrest and Shaming of Sex Buyer:

Reverse Sting, Shaming Within the County:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

 

State South Carolina
Type City
Population 3320
Location
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