Jefferson is a census-designated place of less than 1,000 residents, located 10 miles west of Charleston in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Centered along a strip of U.S. Route 60, the community has reported problems with chronic prostitution in and around its many adult-oriented businesses for over a decade.
To address the issue, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has conducted at least two reverse stings. In November 1999, five johns were arrested in Jefferson after soliciting a female KCSO officer working undercover as a decoy. In September 2007, the KCSO conducted an anti-prostitution investigation after officers responded to complaints by residents about conspicuous street prostitution in a “hot spot” of the town near several strip clubs. Officers then initiated a two-part operation, one focusing on arresting women serving as prostitutes (resulting in 9 arrests), and the targeting sex buyers (resulting in 39 arrests over several days). During the operation, the KCSO also recovered firearms, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and arrested a fugitive from out of state wanted on drug charges.
Following both stings, the identities of the johns arrested were released by the Sheriff’s Department and printed in a local news outlet.
- Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Five Arrested in Prostitution Sting; Officer Says Arrests Were Part of Effort to Help Jefferson”, Charleston Daily Mail, November 30 1999.
- “Police Targeting Soliciting in ‘Badlands'”, Charleston Gazette, November 30 1999.
- “Deputies Go Undercover in Jefferson”, Charleston Gazette, December 1 1999.
- “48 Arrested during Prostitution Sting”, Charleston Daily Mail, September 28 2007.
- “Cross Lanes Man Moves On after Scandal; Karate Teacher Caught in Prostitution Sting Apologizes to Parents”, Charleston Daily Mail, December 14 2007.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Strip Club Owner Faces Indictments”, Charleston Daily Mail, April 14 1998.
- “Strip Bar Owner Held without Bond; Suspect Ran Prostitution Ring, Ordered Killings, Court Told”, Charleston Gazette, April 16 1998.
- “Strip Bar Owner Pleads Guilty, Gives Up One Club”, Charleston Gazette, June 30 1998.
- “Ex-Strip Club Owner Sentenced to Prison”, Charleston Daily Mail, October 8 1998.
- “Stripper Arrested in Jefferson Killing”, Charleston Gazette, November 5 2003.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Ex-Jefferson Strip Bar to Get Official Business?”, Charleston Daily Mail, September 2 1998.
- “Strip Bar to Become Town Hall”, Charleston Gazette, April 19 1999.
- “Escort Service Workers Arrested”, Charleston Daily Mail, December 2 1999.
- “Police Target County Escort Services”, Charleston Gazette, December 2 1999.
- “11 Arrested at Adult Clubs”, Charleston Gazette, March 23 2000.
- “Kanawha Deputies Charge Three Alleged Escort Service Prostitutes”, Charleston Gazette, March 30 2000.
- “Kanawha Deputies Close Six Area Clubs”, Charleston Gazette, May 10 2001.
- “Raid Shuts Down Jefferson Clubs; Deputies Arrest Several Women in Prostitution Sting”, Charleston Daily Mail, May 10 2001.
- “Prosecutor Files Lawsuits against Several Strip Clubs”, Charleston Daily Mail, May 11 2001.
- “Club Owners Agree to Keep Eye Out for Prostitution”, Charleston Daily Mail, May 14 2001.
- “Area Strip Bars Reopen under Deal; Club Owners Agree to Be Responsible for Stopping Prostitution”, Charleston Gazette, May 15 2001.
- “Agency Official Says Strip Clubs Could Lose Liquor Licenses; Six Establishments Face Allegations of Hosting Prostitution”, Charleston Daily Mail, May 22 2001.
- “One Woman Arrested in Prostitution Crackdown”, Charleston Daily Mail, July 14 2005.