Hall County, GA
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Hall County is a county of approximately 207,000 residents in northern Georgia. Gainesville is the county’s seat and largest city. Local law enforcement have reported substantial prostitution and sex trafficking activity in the county, generating related crimes such as drug trafficking, and complaints to police from residents and businesses. For example, in May, 2018, an undercover law enforcement unit found five massage parlors in Hall County that authorities believe have been involved with prostitution and other illegal practices. Seven people were arrested during the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad sting. Law enforcement had received complaints about establishments in the area regarding “keeping places of prostitution, prostitution, masturbation for hire and massage without (a) license.” The locations of the businesses include the 3000 block of McEver Road, the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Atlanta Highway, the 1300 block of Dawsonville Highway and the 200 block of John Morrow Jr. Parkway. Prostitution-related homicide has also occurred within the county. For example, in June, 2022, the body of a woman was found in a wooded area of Hall County, along Paradise Point Road. She had moved to Atlanta ffrom Equador for a waitressing job, but the job was not what she was promised — but was instead prostitution. After she refused, she was found dead and was being investigated as a homicide.
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. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad have conducted several reverse stings targeting sex buyers. While the majority of these operations were staged in Gainesville, the HCSO has at times conducted “john operations” at undisclosed locations within the county. For example, in November 2011, sheriff’s agents issued a press release stating that they had arrested a 34-year-old man from the town of Cumming during the course of a prostitution investigation. In addition to publicizing the john’s identity, the report stated that he was arrested “after he traveled to a predetermined location following a series of text messages with an undercover agent whom he believed to be a female prostitute. During the course of the text exchanges, the arrestee negotiated to trade Hydrocodone and Adderall for sex” with the woman. In February, 2016, a prostitution sting operation in Hall County netted 13 arrests related to the act itself and narcotics. Officials with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said agents encountered both men and women who were seeking sexual services in exchange for currency – or drugs. During the operation, agents arrested 13 people who where willing to meet at pre-determined locations.
In December 2017, eight men were arrested in a web-based reverse sting operation. Online ads were posted and police arranged to meet potential buyers in the area of Bristol Industrial Way in Buford. Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators and other law enforcement personnel assisted in the arrests. In November 2018, a weekend undercover operation by the Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad resulted in three women facing prostitution charges and one man faces a pandering charge in the Buford area of Hall County. Gainesville Police and various units from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the operation. In December, 2019, another undercover sex sting in Hall County brought nine people into custody. Law enforcement officers with the Vice Task Force, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation worked jointly on an undercover operation for crimes against children and prostitution. All of the suspects had been communicating with who they thought were either adult prostitutes or child sex victims. Seven suspects were arrested on charges of soliciting an adult for prostitution, and two suspects were charged with sexual exploitation of a child and criminal attempt to commit child molestation. Their identities and photos were included in news releases. One of the men was from Alaska, the others from Georgia (Oakwood, Gainesville, Clermont, Watkinsville, and Winder).
- Hall County Sheriff’s Office
- Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (MANS)
- Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Cumming Man Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Press Release, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, November 7 2011.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/11-arrested-prostitution-narcotics-investigation/ (2017)
- https://accesswdun.com/11-arrested-as-part-of-hall-county-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://wgxa.tv/georgia-sex-sting-busts-7-for-prostitution-2-for-child-sex-exploitation (2019)
- https://www.fox5atlanta.com/police-georgia-sex-sting-nets-8-arrests-for-prostitution-2-for-sexual-exploitation-of-a-child (2019)
- https://www.ajc.com/crime–law/arrested-hall-county-prostitution-investigation-child-sex-sting (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Goes High-Tech”, Gainesville Times, June 24 2008.
- https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/4-charged-undercover-prostitution-sting-buford/ (2018)
- https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/authorities-5-massage-parlors-involved-prostitution/ (2018)
- https://www.wsbradio.com/3-women-arrested-hall-county-following-massage-business-sting (2023)
Local Prostitution-Related Violence:
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