Madison County, MS
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Madison County, Mississippi has a population of approximately 109,000, its government seat is the city of Canton. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, generating complaints to local law enforcement. For example, in November 2015, an operation by the Ridgeland Police Department and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation resulted in the arrest of four women for prostitution, who were held in the Madison County Detention Center.
Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in April 2014, the Ridgeland Police Department responded to a disturbance at a local hotel. When officers arrived they smelled marijuana coming from a car in the hotel parking lot and found a man in the driver’s seat and a 16-year-old girl in the passenger seat. They also found a handgun in the man’s possession. He told the officers that they were at the hotel to purchase a gun and admitted that he had just smoked marijuana. The officers asked if they could look at his phone, and saw an internet advertisement on jacksonbackpage.com, for what appeared to be prostitution. Police then questioned the girl, who said that the man was her pimp and that he had brought her to Ridgeland to be sexually abused for money by someone at the hotel. She stated that she was going to be paid $150.00. The victim also informed police that she had been involved in prostitution (ie., had been trafficked) for about a month and that the man was responsible for placing the advertisement on the internet. Police arrested the man, and while he was in jail, the man admitted to a fellow inmate that he was a pimp and that he had taken the victim to the hotel to meet a customer for sex. He also said that he would harm or kill the victim if she cooperated with law enforcement. The man was prosecuted, and eventually pled guilty to human trafficking and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office has participated in multiple statewide and national human trafficking operations, such as the 2016 Operation Cross Country. The Mississippi operation was led by the FBI’s Jackson Division, partnered with The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the Jackson Police Department, the Ridgeland Police Department, the Madison Police Department, as well as the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. In a separate case, in January 2017, two local men were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for human trafficking. A Ridgeland police officer had made a traffic stop in March 2016, and received information about a possible prostitution ring at a local hotel. The subsequent investigation discovered the group had been sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and demand reduction tactics have been used locally. Loss of employment is a consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, in August 2021, the former executive director of the Mississippi Fair Commission pled guilty in Circuit Court to promoting prostitution. He was ordered to serve 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with the last seven years to be suspended. After serving his term in the custody of MDOC he would then be placed in a supervised program, and pay court costs in the amount of $1,442, a district attorney investigative fee of $500, and a MBI investigative fee in the amount of $500, all to be paid at the rate of no less than $100 per month. The man had been arrested by Madison police and MBI agents in April 2020. He was immediately fired by the Mississippi Fair Commission from his executive director position.
- Mississippi Fair Commission
- Madison County Prosecutor’s Office
Sex Buyer Identity Disclosure, Loss of Employment:
- https://www.wlbt.com/ex-fair-commission-director-appears-court-after-prostitution-arrest/ (2020)
- https://www.wjtv.com/mississippi-fair-commission-director-arrested-for-promoting-prostitution/ (2020)
- https://www.magnoliastatelive.com/former-executive-director-mississippi-fair-commission-pleads-guilty-prostitution/ (2021)
- https://www.wapt.com/former-mississippi-fair-commissioner-sentenced-guilty-prostitution-charge (2021)
- https://onlinemadison.com/stories/hutton-pleads-to-prostitution-charge (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Weapons Offenses:
- https://www.wapt.com/ridgeland-police-make-arrests-in-prostitution-sting (2013)
- https://archives.fbi.gov/mississippi-teen-recovered-in-nationwide-operation-targeting-underage-prostitution (2013)
- https://www.supertalk.fm/ridgeland-pd-arrest-four-women-for-prostitution/ (2015)
- https://www.wlbt.com/ridgeland-pd-and-mbi-make-four-prostitution-arrests/ (2015)
- https://www.clarionledger.com/prostituion-sting-ridgeland/ (2015)
- https://www.wlbt.com/man-sentenced-for-human-trafficking-in-madison-co/ (2015)
- https://www.actionnews5.com/fbi-sting-frees-82-minors-puts-239-sex-traffickers-behind-bars/ (2016)
- https://www.wlbt.com/two-metro-men-plead-guilty-to-human-trafficking-for-prostitution/ (2017)
- https://www.localmemphis.com/13-arrested-in-southaven-following-massive-fbi-sex-trafficking-investigation (2017)
- https://info.publicintelligence.net/MSAIC-GangAssessment-2017.pdf (2017)
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