Maryville is a city of just over 28,000 residents, situated in Blount County in eastern Tennessee near Alcoa. Prostitution is a well documented problem locally and generates complaints to police from residents and businesses. On at least one occasion, attempted sex buyers have been arrested during local sting investigations.
In late October 2016, the Blount County Sheriff’s Department and Maryville and Alcoa Police Departments staged a sting at a local motel. Four women were arrested and charged with prostitution during the investigation, as were two men on charges of patronizing prostitution. The logistics of the sting– specifically, if and how the attempted sex buyers were targeted for arrest by law enforcement– were not disclosed. Following the investigation, all of the arrestees’ names, ages and arrest photos were publicized in press.
In July, 2019, a web-based revers sting was conducted in Alcoa and surrounding areas in East Tennessee, resulting in the arrest of four men. Authorities placed decoy advertisements on websites known to be used for prostitution and commercial sex. Their goal was to identify people seeking to buy sex with females under age 18, as well as individuals engaged in trafficking others for commercial sex acts. The TBI, Alcoa Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Maryville Police Department, and 5th Judicial Drug Task Force were all involved in the operation.
- Blount County Sheriff’s Department
- Maryville Police Department
- Alcoa Police Department
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
- 5th Judicial Drug Task Force
John Arrests with Shaming:
- “Blount Sting Nabs 5 for Prostitution, Marijuana Use,” Knoxville News, October 28 2016.
- “Several Arrested, Cited in Blount County Prostitution Bust,” ABC/WATE-TV 6, October 28 2016.
- “Blount, State Authorities Arrest Five in Prostitution Sting,” Maryville Daily Times, October 29 2016.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://newschannel9.com/tbi-four-men-arrested-sex-trafficking-investigation-in-east-tennessee (2019)
- https://www.wrcbtv.com/tbi-human-trafficking-operation-nets-four-arrests-east-tennessee (2019)
- https://wcyb.com/four-men-arrested-in-human-trafficking-operation (2019)
- https://www.knoxnews.com/human-trafficking-investigation-east-tennessee-tbi-arrests-blount-county (2019)
- https://www.wbir.com/four-arrested-in-east-tennessee-following-human-trafficking-sting (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Man in Custody, Charged with Prostitution,” Maryville Daily Times, January 16 2008.
- “3 Males Face Prostitution Charges,” Maryville Daily Times, January 18 2008.
- “St. Hill Pleads Guilty to Soliciting Prostitution,” Maryville Daily Times, January 26 2008.
- https://www.thedailytimes.com/news/ten-arrested-or-cited-in-prostitution-sting-at-alcoa-hotel/article_1c0be701-052d-5ee7-a58b-e23b1142c0c4.html (April 2018)