Moultrie, GA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Moultrie is a city of about 14,600 residents and is the county seat and largest city of Colquitt County. It is the third largest city in southwestern Georgia, behind Thomasville and Albany. Prostitution has been well-documented in the city, and a wide range of addition crimes (including weapons and drug offenses) have been involved in the local commercial sex market.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Tactics used to address demand in the city include reverse stings and identity disclosure. In October 2015, federal authorities arrested 29 people in 13 cities across eight states after a sex trafficking investigation called “Operation Safe Haven.” The operation, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), began in Moultrie and identified a sex trafficking ring throughout the southeastern United States. The operation resulted in the recovery of 15 potential trafficking victims, including one who was trafficked as a minor. Six people were charged with conspiracy to participate in the sex trafficking of a minor, 38 were charged with conspiracy to transport a person in interstate commerce for prostitution (nine suspects remained at large after 29 were arrested), and three of the trafficking network’s sex buyers were charged with promoting prostitution. Five of the arrests occurred in Moultrie. The operation was led by HSI-Savannah with assistance from several agencies, including the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office.

In February 2022, several law enforcement agencies participated in an online sting targeting child predators in Colquitt County called “Operation Heartbreak,” which resulted in a dozen arrests over three days. The effort, centered in Moultrie, was coordinated by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia. The suspects arrested thought they were meeting a child they had enticed for sexual acts, including those willing to purchase sex with a minor. Instead, they were met by law enforcement and taken into custody. Each person arrested was charged under the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. Investigators had more than 69 exchanges with people on social media and other internet platforms who thought they were talking to minors. Many of these exchanges involved adults sending obscene or lewd content to the supposed minors or asking the child to produce and send sexually explicit images of themselves – thus constituting child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) directly involved in commercial sex transactions. The twelve men arrested had their names, ages, arrest photos, and occupations released to the press.

Key Partners

  • Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI)
    • Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC)
  • Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia
  • Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force
    • Moultrie Police Department
    • GBI Southeast Regional Drug Enforcement Office
    • GBI-Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC)
    • Georgia State Patrol
    • Gwinnett County Police Department
    • Hall County Sheriff’s Office
    • Homeland Security Investigations
    • Roswell Police Department
    • Thomas County Sheriff’s Office
    • Thomasville Police Department
    • United States Marshal Service
    • United States Secret Service
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
    • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • Joint Task Force for Investigations (JTF-I)
  • HSI-Savannah
State Georgia
Type City
Population 14587
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