Greenville County, SC

Tactics Used

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

Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in Greenville County, in the city of Greenville, surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Greenville County has conducted periodic reverse stings for years, although we do not know when they first began. Identities of arrestees – including names, ages, and photos – are routinely released to the media.  Many of the arrests occur in the I-85 and Pelham Road area, known locally as the “strip” for street prostitution. Through 2012 we had acquired information about 12 separate reverse stings that resulted in the arrest of 114 sex buyers, but more of these operations have been conducted up to that point, and afterward. More recent operations have leveraged the internet to conduct reverse stings focusing on those seeking commercial sex with adults, as well as with trafficked children.  For example, In October 2018, police made 21 arrests in an operation targeting child predators and “johns” in Greenville County in a four-day reverse sting called Operation Intercept. Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies posed as a 14-year-old child and initiated online chats in order to target and identify those looking for sex with the children, and made 10 arrests.  They also posed as adults, and arrested 11 johns.  The Greenville Police Department hosted the operation, assisted by police departments from Spartanburg, Richland, York, Mauldin and Simpsonville, as well as the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.



Key Partners

  • Greenville County Sheriff’s Office
  • Greenville Police Department
  • Greenville County Detention Center
  • Spartanburg Police Department
  • Richland Police Department
  • York Police Department
  • Mauldin Police Department
  • Simpsonville Police Department
  • Florence County Sheriff’s Offices.

Key Sources

State South Carolina
Type County
Population 427428
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