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Lead is a city of approximately 3,000 residents in western South Dakota, located in the Black Hills near the Wyoming state line. The city is located in Lawrence County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas. The neighboring city of Deadwood was historically known for permitting brothels from the late 1870s up until the late 20th century. The last brothel in the area closed in 1980. The city of Deadwood recently opened a museum dedicated to sharing the history of brothels in the area.
In efforts to reduce demand for prostitution in the area, police have been known to arrested sex buyers. For example, in 2011, officers from the Lead Police Department responded to a call alleging that a 51-year-old Lead man had attempted to solicit a 16-year-old girl for sex while purchasing cigarettes. According to reports, the victim had been visiting a friend’s apartment when the sex buyer came to the residence to purchase cigarettes. The victim told police that the sex buyer pulled out stack of cash from his pocket and asked her to engage in prostitution with him at least 10 times. This statement was corroborated by a male witness who was also in the apartment at the time of the incident. The alleged sex buyer was arrested on two counts of hiring for sexual activity.
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: