Knoxville, TN

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Knoxville is a city with approximately 182,000 residents, located in Knox County in eastern Tennessee. Prostitution is a persistent and visible problem in the area, and the city is known by federal and state investigators to be on domestic and international sex trafficking circuits. The city has also served as the operating base for at least one serial killer who specifically targeted sex sellers, and has reported and prosecuted several robberies, assaults, and murder cases involving sex buyers, sellers, and pimps.

To address such issues, the Knoxville Police Department has formulated an approach that targets sex buyers as well as sellers. Officers first used street-level reverse stings as early as 1976; they have subsequently been used to arrest dozens of johns. As much prostitution solicitation has moved to the internet, the KPD conducts web stings as well.  Police release arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the media. Arrestees may also be subject to SOAP orders, limiting their access to city areas known for solicitation and prostitution.

Key Partners

Key Sources

State Tennessee
Type City
Population 183546
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