High Point is a city of approximately 100,000 residents located in central North Carolina’s Guilford County, near Winston-Salem and Greensboro. A key feature of the city related to prostitution is what is billed as the world’s largest home furnishings exhibition. In the spring and fall each year, the week-long trade show attracts an estimated 140,000 attendees from over 100 countries. A study by High Point University found that the exhibitions are the state’s largest economic events (Fox et al., 2007). Prostitution is a persistent problem in the city; 651 prostituted persons were arrested between 2003 and 2008 alone. Complaints from High Point residents and businesses influence where and when police conduct reverse stings and other anti-prostitution efforts. The High Point Police Department routinely conducts street-level reverse stings and has employed this tactic since 1985. Officers incorporated the use of web-based stings in 2009. Since the 1990s, citizens have been encouraged to contact police with any information that may help them identify prostituted women and their clients. Once arrested, offenders are subjected to shaming as their names and identities are released to the public. Repeat offenders may face up to six to 12 months in prison. Examples of how the city has attempted to combat demand for commercial sex:
- Street-level reverse stings began in approximately 1985, according to a survey respondent from the high Point Police Department. They occur several times per year, and in some years as many as 35 reverse stings have occurred. The average is about 3 reverse stings per year.
- In the spring of 1996 police canceled a planned reverse sting near the furniture show, amid allegations that the police bowed to pressure from the furniture industry. In the fall of that year, police conducted a reverse sting, arresting 17 men for soliciting female police decoys.
- In our National Assessment study, we have gathered information on 15 reverse stings resulting in the arrest of 67 men. The operations typically last five hours and involve one decoy and a support team of unknown size, and each reverse sting results in about five arrests of johns.
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- The first known web reverse sting occurred in 2006, using a decoy ad placed on Craigslist. Most of the reverse stings in High Point are street-level, and do not use the internet.
- Identities of men arrested for soliciting have been released to the media as long as police have been conducting reverse stings.
Dear John Letters:
- In 2000, letters were first sent to the addresses of registered owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution and being used in a manner suggesting that drivers were interested in soliciting sex from women engaged in prostitution.
- High Point Police Department
- Community groups and residents that provide tips and lodge complaints with police
- National Assessment Survey and Interview
- More on High Point Police Department’s Drug Market Intervention Model and Its Implications for Commercial Sex Sales:
- Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Prostitution Sting Faces Controversy”, Greensboro News & Record, June 4 1996.
- “Six Arrested in High Point during Prostitution Sting”, Greensboro News & Record, September 19 1996.
- “Prostitution Sting Yields 8 Arrests in High Point”, Greensboro News & Record, October 18 1996.
- “High Point: Police Stage Sting on Prostitution before Fall Show”, Wilmington Star-News, October 21 1996.
- “More than Furniture; N.C. Officials Worried about Prostitution Sting during Market”, Sumter Item, October 21 1996.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Many High Point Arrests”, Greensboro News & Record, September 21 1997.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to 6 Arrests in High Point”, Greensboro News & Record, October 5 1997.
- “28 Men Arrested by High Point Police in Prostitution Bust”, Greensboro News & Record, October 2 1998.
- “Prostitution Sting Targets Male Solicitors; Police Crack down on Prostitution in a Two-Block Area after Residents Complain about the Stop-and-Go Traffic”, Greensboro News & Record, March 24 2000.
- “High Point Police Arrest 11 Suspects in Prostitution Sting”, Greensboro News & Record, December 2 2000.
- “High Point; Local Residents Arrested in High Point Prostitution Sting”, Lexington Dispatch, March 20 2001.
- “West End Complaints Cause Prostitution Sting; The Operation Shows a Police Willingness to Respond to the West End’s Needs, Says a Pastor”, Greensboro News & Record, March 21 2001.
- “Police Arrest 16 People in Sting; Officers Respond to Complaints about Prostitution on West English Road and West Green Drive”, Greensboro News & Record, September 6 2001.
- “Two Thomasville Residents Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Lexington Dispatch, July 3 2003.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Charges”, Lexington Dispatch, October 22 2004.
- “High Point Prostitution Bust Nets 10 Suspects”, CBS/WFMY-TV 2, January 3 2006.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Authorities Reconstruct the Life of a Slain Teen-age Prostitute”, Gainesville Sun, August 24 1984.
- “Man Gets Jail Time for Role in Sex Case”, Greensboro News & Record, November 30 2000.
- “Man Sentenced in Luring Minor into Prostitution”, Wilmington Star-News, November 30 2000.
- “Throwaway Children, as Many as 60 Teenage Girls May Be Operating as Prostitutes in Greensboro”, Greensboro News & Record, November 4 2001.
- “Judge Tackles N.C. Teen Prostitution”, Wilmington Star-News, November 8 2001.
- “Sex Peddling Inquiry Opens; The Taskforce on Teenage Prostitution Holds Its First Meeting Today”, Greensboro News & Record, November 30 2001.
- “High Point Man Charged with Human Trafficking”, FOX/WGHP-TV 8, August 27 2014.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Involved Prostitution ‘Escort Agency’ Raided by Police”, Greensboro News & Record, January 13 1995.
- “19 Arrested in Prostitution Scheme”, Greensboro News & Record, October 7 1995.
- “Agencies Join to Help Prostitutes, Caring Services and Its Partners Are Planning to Launch a Program Called the First Stone”, Greensboro News & Record, March 16 2004.
- Fox, G.T., Hargrove, R.M., and Bryden, D.L. (2007). The Economic Impact of the Home Furnishings Industry in the Triad Region of North Carolina. High Point University.