Hall County is a county of approximately 185,000 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. To address these crimes, 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 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.
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. For example, 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 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).
- Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: