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North Myrtle Beach is a city of about 19,000 residents, located approximately 100 miles north of Charleston in Horry County, South Carolina. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Horry county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with prostitution in the area is child sex trafficking.
Much of the local prostitution activity occurs in hotels and strip clubs, and is advertised and arranged online. For example, in July 2017, officers from the North Myrtle Beach Police Department (NMBPD) arrested two women during an undercover prostitution operation. Detectives had found an advertisement for a “cutie with a booty” offering sexual services on social media. A detective called the number provided and a woman offered him a “full session” of sex for $200. The woman was arrested and admitted to prostitution after the detective arrived at the pre-determined location and the woman again affirmed the arrangement to sell sex.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand, which provides the revenue stream driving all prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, officers from the NMBPD periodically receive complaints about online advertising and social media websites advertising thinly disguised prostitution (e.g., escort and massage types of ads). In January 2018, police monitoring commonly used advertising websites (Craigslist and Backpage) noticed an increase in online activity facilitating prostitution. Decoy ads for prostitution were posted on Craigslist. Men who made contact with an undercover police officer via phone to arrange sex in exchange for money were given a pre-determined location to meet. Five men were arrested after arriving at the location and agreeing again to exchange money for sexual acts. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in press releases.
- North Myrtle Beach Police Department
- Horry County Sheriff’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- http://wpde.com/news/local/north-myrtle-beach-police-conduct-prostitution-sting-after-increase-in-online-activity (2018)
- http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/multiple-people-arrested-after-undercover-prostitution-sting-in-north-myrtle-beach (2018)
- https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/crime (2018)
- https://www.htcinc.net/feed-items/craigslist-ads-lead-to-north-myrtle-beach-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://www.facebook.com/newzjunky/posts (2018)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Ten Arrested in Parlor Raids”, Myrtle Beach Sun News, October 17 1998.
- “Briefly/Local, State”, Myrtle Beach Sun News, March 20 1999.
- “Council Passes Tougher Laws”, Myrtle Beach Sun News, April 18 2001.
- “Six Arrested in Connection with Myrtle Beach Prostitution Ring”, NBC/WIS-TV 10, October 17 2002.
- “Horry County Officer Resigns After Arrest for Soliciting Prostitution”, NBC/WIS-TV 10, February 2 2007.
- “6 Busted in Horry County for Prostitution”, NBC/WMBF-TV 32, September 10 2008.
- “6 Arrested in NMB Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WMBF-TV 32, October 5 2009.
- “Investigation: Sex for Sale?”, NBC/WMBF-TV 32, May 5 2010.
- “Undercover Operation at Gentleman’s Clubs Yields 9 Arrests”, NBC/WMBF-TV 32, July 22 2011.
- https://www.scnow.com/news/local (2011)
- “Look Inside Prostitution Stings in Horry Co.”, NBC/WMBF-TV 32, July 30 2012.
- https://www.counton2.com/news/15-people-arrested-in-horry-county-prostitution-bust (2015)
- http://www.kptv.com/story/two-women-arrested-in-north-myrtle-beach-undercover-prostitution-operation (2017)
- https://www.wbtw.com/news/north-myrtle-beach-sting-nets-arrests-for-prostitution-drugs (2017)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area: