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.
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.
- Aiken County Sheriff’s Office
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia
Arrest and Shaming of Sex Buyer:
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/teacher-charged-federal-complaint-transporting-minor-sex (2021)
- https://www.wfxg.com/story/43301267/graniteville-man-charged-for-taking-minor-across-state-lines-for-sex (2021)
- https://www.augustachronicle.com/story/news/2021/02/11/former-graniteville-teacher-remain-custody-child-sex-charge/6723347002/ (2021)
Reverse Sting, Shaming Within the County:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://newspaperarchive.com/aiken-standard-jul-01-2003-p-1/ (2003)
- http://www.wistv.com/story/3636603/aiken-county-cracks-down-on-prostitution (2005)
- “Eight Charged in Prostitution Sting,” Aiken Standard, July 26 2005.
- “Five Men Arrested in Prostitution Case,” Augusta Chronicle, June 24 2008.
- “Valley Prostitution Sting Nets Five,” McClatchy-Tribune Regional News, June 24 2008.
- https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/four-sentenced-in-prostitution-ring-alleged-sex-ring-members-to/article (2013)
- https://www.postandcourier.com/aikenstandard/news/aiken-county-residents-jailed-after-georgia-sting-operation (2014)
- https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/html (2015)
- http://www.datelinecarolina.org/story/30151264/springdale-prostitution-bust?clienttype=mobile (2015)
- https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/police-bookings-for-nov/article (2016)
- https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/n-a-woman-faces-counts-of-prostitution/article (2016)
- https://www.cbs17.com/news/woman-hit-with-21-charges-of-prostitution-just-as-masters-gets-underway/ (2016)
- https://www.aikenstandard.com/news/n-a-woman-charged-in-prostitution-sting/article 2016
- https://www.wjbf.com/news/north-augusta-woman-facing-multiple-prostitution-charges (2016)
- https://www.silive.com/crime/2021/02/judge-orders-graniteville-spa-shut-down-city-alleges-prostitution-there.html (2021)