Greenwood, SC

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Greenwood is a city of approximately 22,000 residents, located northwest of the center of Greenwood County, in the northwest portion of South Carolina. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding 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. For example, in 2008, Greenwood Police said they made as many prostitution arrests during the summer as in the prior four years combined. Officers had been pursuing leads on web sites like to make the arrests. Investigators said that in each case, women advertised for massage or therapeutic services, then met men at local motels or in their own home to exchange sex for money. While the crime itself was not unusual, the rising number in Greenwood was a concern in 2008, with some suspects blaming the economy for the rise in prostitution – and consequent arrests – and online advertising making it easier and distributing the activity geographically.  But at that same time, for the first time, Greenwood Police began receiving complaints about “streetwalkers” at the busy intersection of County Line Road and Madison Avenue.

Prostitution activity has continued to occur in the city over the subsequent decade, and has included cases of child sex trafficking. For example, in September 2017, a man was arrested in connection to a case that happened back in 2013, in which a teenager was forced into prostitution by a man and woman who were seeking drugs and money.  A 16-year-old girl was interviewed in December of 2013 and said that her mother made her have sex with men on several different occasions in exchange for drugs and money. The girl was taken to different hotels and apartments to have sex with the men and used cocaine during some of these occasions.

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 driving all commercial sex and trafficking. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers Greenwood Police investigators have conducted reverse stings per year, some in response to community complaints. For example, in August, 2016, the Greenwood City Police along with SC SLED agents conducted a prostitution sting in Greenwood.  Police posted an online ad for sex, and men contacted undercover SLED agents by phone and arranged to meet at a specific location.  When they arrived, they were let in by agents, had a brief conversation and agreed to pay money for sex.  The undercover agents then gave the code word and officers entered the room placing the suspects under arrest.  Five men were arrested for attempting to buy sex, and their identities were included in news releases.


Key Partners

  • Greenwood City Police
State South Carolina
Type City
Population 22221
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