Homewood is a city of about 25,000 residents in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham, located south of the city center. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and 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 are sex trafficking, child endangerment, and violence committed against people involved in these transactions. For example, in February, 2019, a joint investigation into prostitution and human trafficking in Homewood led to the arrests of seven people and the rescue of a juvenile girl. The Homewood Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit had carried out an operation targeting prostitution in the city, in collaboration with Vestavia Hills police and the FBI.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. To combat the array of problems stemming from commercial sex, local law enforcement agencies have conducted reverse sting. For example, in July, 2019, over a dozen people were arrested and charged in a prostitution and human trafficking operation led by the Homewood Police Department’s vice and narcotics unit. The operation was part of the FBI’s months long effort, Operation Independence Day, to combat human trafficking. Multiple arrest were made at hotels on Lakeshore Parkway and Oxmoor Road. Five men were arrested, and authorities described them as pimps and johns.
- Homewood Police Department
- Vestavia Hills Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.cbs42.com/news/homewood-police-arrest-14-in-human-trafficking-prostitution-case/ (2019)
- https://www.al.com/14-arrested-on-prostitution-charges-in-homewood-in-fbi-human-trafficking-operation.html (2019)
- https://www.wvtm13.com/article/multiple-people-arrested-in-huma-trafficking-sting (2019)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:
- https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/2019/02/7-arrested-juvenile-rescued-during-prostitution-sting-in-homewood.html (2019)
- https://www.wbrc.com/2019/02/12/arrested-prostitution-sting-homewood/ (2019)