Opelika is a city of about 30,000 residents that serves as the county seat of Lee County, Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area, and is located in the eastern part of the state. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Lee County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking, child endangerment, and violence committed against people involved in these transactions.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. For example, in 2016, police arrested 12 people and three underage girls were taken into custody after investigators conducted a sting to catch people involved in prostitution. Investigations into sex trafficking led Opelika police to discover several local hotels were being used for illegal prostitution. The year long investigation began when officers responded to a trespassing call at local hotel in June, 2015. Officers found a 16-year-old girl from a rural Lee County area and was at the hotel because she was being forced into prostitution. Further investigation found two other girls engaging in coerced prostitution with adults. One girl was a 17-year-old from Opelika and the other was a 14-year-old runaway from north Alabama. All three girls were taken into protective custody. A woman was charged with two counts of first degree human trafficking. Six men were arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute and their identities were revealed in news releases. They were charged with misdemeanors and prosecuted through Opelika Municipal Court
- Opelika Police Department
- Opelika Municipal Court
- Lee County Jail
Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- http://www.oanow.com/news/charged-in-opelika-prostitution-human-trafficking-investigation (2016)