Pender County, NC

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

Pender County, North Carolina has a population of approximately 63,000. Its county seat is the city of Burgaw, and it is part of the Wilmington, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented throughout the county. Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response.

Demand reduction tactics used in the town include the arrest of sex buyers, the public disclosure of their identities, and in at least one case, employment loss. Local arrests of sex buyers have resulted from investigating allegations against real victims as opposed to the product of sting operations using police decoys. For example, in June, 2011, a Captain with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office was dismissed from his duties following charges of soliciting prostitution and crimes against nature that resulted from a vehicle stop for a traffic signal violation. His identity was released to the public.

In April 2014, a Rocky Point man was arrested on one count of felony soliciting prostitution of a minor and one count of misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The 58-year-old man was arrested by Pender County deputies after he allegedly accosted a 13-year-old female in the parking lot of a gas station in Rocky Point. The man was taken to the Pender County jail and placed under a $20,000 secured bond. From July to September 2020, three men were arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation in Pender County. Charges included: human trafficking of an adult victim; promoting prostitution; advancing prostitution; profiting from prostitution; and conspiracy to commit human trafficking.

Key Partners

  • Pender County Sheriff’s Office
State North Carolina
Type County
Population 62815
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