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Norcross, a northern suburb of Atlanta, has a population of approximately 17,000 and is situated in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Prostitution, as well as several high-profile cases of sex trafficking, have generated considerable problems in the community for years. Trafficking victims have included both adults and minors, both U.S. citizens and foreign-born persons, and both adult women and female children. For example, in January 2019, a 21-year-old woman was arrested and accused of running a sex trafficking operation in Gwinnett County, where she took underage girls to men at hotels and apartments. She allegedly set up the meetings and prices online for the girls, ages 14 and 15, and then drove them “to dates located at hotels, apartments, and houses,” according to her arrest warrants. The warrants said she would take 50 percent of the earnings from the paid sexual abuse. She faced five charges, including two counts of sex trafficking, felony theft, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Local commercial sex activity has also been linked to robberies of both sex buyers and those who are sexually exploited.
In their efforts to curtail prostitution and the range of crimes it generates, local law enforcement agencies have conducted operations targeting consumer-level demand. For example, in July 2006, Norcross Police Department officers partnered with their peers at the Gwinnett County Police Department to conduct a street-level reverse sting in the Indian Trail Road area. Over a three-hour period, 11 men were arrested after approaching and offering money to a female police decoy for sex acts. Following their arrests, the identities of the arrested sex buyers were publicized by select press outlets.
Not all arrests of sex buyers are from sting operations using police decoys. Some are the result of investigations of offenses against real victims and have resulted in the loss of employment for sex buyers. In January 2022, a Norcross police officer was arrested and fired after department officials said he broke his oath and solicited sex from a prostituted woman while in uniform. The Norcross Police Department said they were tipped off by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office after they learned that a possible police officer was “pandering for sex with a prostitute” in Norcross. Investigators with the two agencies investigated and obtained evidence of the officer’s sex-buying misconduct, along with information revealing he was searching names on a state computer database with “no legal justification to query.” NPD terminated the officer’s employment on Jan. 7, 2021, and prosecutors charged the officer with two counts of GCIC violations, two counts of breaking an oath of office, and two counts of pandering for sex. In a news release, the Norcross Police Chief said,
“We have zero tolerance for such misconduct. (His) actions were immoral, unethical, and without integrity, all of which are the core requirements of our profession and will never be tolerated. As members of law enforcement, we are oath-bound to uphold the law; no one is above it.”
- Norcross Police Department
- Gwinnett County Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Norcross, Gwinnett Officers Work Together to Arrest 11 in Undercover Operation,” Gwinnett Daily Post, July 23 2006.
Arrest and Identity Disclosure of Sex Buyer; Employment Loss:
- https://www.11alive.com/norcross-officer-fired-arrested-after-pandering-for-sex/ (2022)
- https://www.wsbtv.com/norcross-police-officer-fired-accused-pandering-sex-with-prostitute (2022)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHSBE782PY (2022)
- https://www.cbs46.com/norcross-police-officer-terminated-charged-with-pandering-for-sex-authorities-say (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Five Defendants Charged in Human Trafficking Ring for Bringing Young Women into the U.S. from Mexico,” U.S. Federal News Service, July 7 2008.
- “Men Indicted on Human Trafficking Charges,” Gwinnett Daily Post, July 8 2008.
- “Key Member of Alleged Human Trafficking Ring Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking Charges Following Immigration and Customs Enforcement Atlanta Investigation,” U.S. Federal News Service, December 18 2008.
- “Norcross Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking,” Gwinnett Daily Post, December 19 2008.
- “Mexican Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking a 17-Year-Old,” Gwinnett Daily Post, February 6 2009.
- “Feds: Men Admit Smuggling Sex Slaves,” Gwinnett Daily Post, July 31 2009.
- “Key Member of International Human Trafficking Ring Sentenced to Twenty Years,” U.S. Federal News Service, April 2 2010.
- “Four Defendants Sentenced in Human Trafficking Ring,” U.S. States News Service, April 28 2010.
- “Four Men Sentenced in Sex Trafficking Ring,” Gwinnett Daily Post, April 28 2010.
- “Sex Trafficking Ring Leader Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison; Amador Cortes-Meza Smuggled Victims from Mexico, Forced Them into Prostitution,” U.S. States News Service, March 24 2011.
- “Norcross Home Involved in Prostitution Ring,” Gwinnett Daily Post, December 14 2011.
- https://www.wsbradio.com/arrested-prostitution-sting/ (2011)
- https://patch.com/prostitution-ring-has-ties-to-norcross-area-home (2011)
- https://abcnews.go.com/university-georgia-professor-arrested-prostitution/ (2012)
- “Man Convicted of Forcing 14-Year-Old into Prostitution,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 1 2013.
- “Man Given 25 Years for Leading 14-Year-Old into Prostitution,” Gwinnett Daily Post, February 1 2013.
- “Four Indicted in International Sex Ring with Gwinnett Ties,” Gwinnett Daily Post, May 21 2013.
- “Members of International Sex Trafficking Ring Indicted,” U.S. Federal News Service, May 24 2013.
- “Recent Arrest, Indictment Highlight Gwinnett’s Sex Trafficking Issue,” Gwinnett Daily Post, April 5 2014.
- “Atlanta Man Sentenced for Interstate Transportation of 17-Year-Old Girl for Prostitution,” U.S. States News Service, September 12 2014.
- “Alleged Sex Trafficker Accused of Forcing Underage Girl into Prostitution,” Gwinnett Daily Post, March 4 2015.
- “Cops: Pimp Accused of Human Trafficking, Forcing Woman into Prostitution in Norcross,” Gwinnett Daily Post, July 23 2015.
- https://www.ajc.com/woman-accused-running-norcross-sex-trafficking-operation (2019)
- https://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/victims-of-sex-trafficking-suing-owners-of-norcross-red-roof-inn (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Correction,” Gwinnett Daily Post, May 20 2005.
- “Police Reports; Woman Charged with Prostitution,” Gwinnett Daily Post, June 24 2005.
- “Police Reports; Police Arrest Three in Prostitution Sting,” Gwinnett Daily Post, September 17 2005.
- “County Board Revokes Spa’s Permit,” Gwinnett Daily Post, November 3 2005.
- “Police Reports; Evacuee Charged with Pimping,” Gwinnett Daily Post, November 23 2006.
- “Suspected ‘Mansion Madam’ Finds That Business Is Both Bad and Good,” Spartanburg Herald-Journal, January 18 2007.
- “Illegal Immigrants Accused in Prostitution Ring,” Gwinnett Daily Post, April 14 2007.
- “Prostitution Bust Nabs 2,” Gwinnett Daily Post, April 20 2007.
- “Cops Nab 5 Accused of Sex for Sale,” Gwinnett Daily Post, October 13 2007.
- “Trio Booked for Prostitution; Woman Allegedly Ran Brothel out of Norcross Hotel Room,” Gwinnett Daily Post, January 11 2008.
- “Sex Stings Nets Two Arrests; Women Charged in Prostitution Bust,” Gwinnett Daily Post, May 22 2008.
- “Two Women Arrested after Massage Business Busted,” Gwinnett Daily Post, January 10 2009.
- “Four Arrested in Prostitution Bust,” Gwinnett Daily Post, October 31 2009.
- “Three Detained in Prostitution Sting,” Gwinnett Daily Post, December 3 2009.
- “Police Make Prostitution Bust at Norcross Hotel,” Gwinnett Daily Post, January 7 2010.
- “Cross-Dressing Men Charged with Prostitution,” Gwinnett Daily Post, September 22 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Several Arrests,” Gwinnett Daily Post, September 23 2010.
- “11 ‘Escorts’ Booked in Vice Sting,” Gwinnett Daily Post, July 11 2011.
- https://patch.com/uga-professor-charged-with-prostitution-at-norcross-hotel (2012)
- “Suspect Leads Police to Alleged Drug Activity, Prostitution at Norcross Hotel,” Gwinnett Daily Post, October 22 2014.
- https://www.11alive.com/five-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2017)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Reports; Female Escort Robbed,” Gwinnett Daily Post, April 6 2005.
- “Police, Fire Reports; Victim Arrested after Being Robbed by Man Dressed as a Woman,” Gwinnett Daily Post, December 19 2007.
- “Police Report; Man Claims He Was Shot by Alleged Pimp,” Gwinnett Daily Post, December 23 2007.
- “Craigslist Prostitution Ad Turns into Robbery, Assault,” Norcross Patch, November 1 2012.