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Purvis is a U.S. city in, and the county seat, of Lamar County, Mississippi. It has a population of roughly 2,200, and it is part of the Hattiesburg Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas, including Hattiesburg and Purvis. 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 is sex trafficking. The Purvis Police Department has participated in demand reduction operations as a member of the Pine Belt Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. For example, in December, 2019, six men were arrested and charged during an operation in nearby Columbia. The operation targeted suspects who were attempting to exploit or entice children for sexual purposes, solicit prostitutes and possibly identify victims of human trafficking. Two men were charged with enticement of a child to meet for sexual purposes. Four others were charged with misdemeanor procuring prostitution.
Within the city of Purvis, demand reduction tactics have been employed. For example, in September, 2022, the board of directors for the Homes of Hope for Children announced it had terminated the employment of its Founder and Director after he was arrested and charged with possession of illegal drugs and procuring prostitution. He had been arrested on two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one charge of procuring prostitution. He was arrested again two days later and charged with another drug possession offense. The man had been arrested by Columbia police and he was booked into the Marion County Correctional Facility. His identity was publicly disclosed. The organization he founded operates a number of homes on a remote compound where house parents care for up to eight foster children in each home.
- Homes of Hope for Children
- Lamar County Sheriff’s Office
- Columbia Police Department
- Homeland Security
- Mississippi Department of Corrections
- 12th District Narcotics Enforcement Team
Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/mississippi-childrens-home-director-arrested-drugs-prostitution-charges/ (2022)
- https://news.yahoo.com/mississippi-childrens-home-director-fired (2022)
- https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/mississippi-childrens-home-director-michael-garrett-fired-interim-director-appointed (2022)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking:
- “FBI Brings Charges Against Hattiesburg Kidnapping Suspects”, Hattiesburg American, July 3 2013.
- “Federal Charges Filed Against Kidnapping Suspects”, Hattiesburg American, July 3 2013.
- “More Details Released in Case”, Hattiesburg American, July 4 2013.
- “2 Suspects Indicted in Prostitution Network Case”, Hattiesburg American, August 16 2013.
- “Human Trafficking Suspect Pleads Guilty”, NBC/WDAM-TV 7, October 23 2013.
- “Man Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Case”, Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 23 2013.
- “Man Sentenced to 1 Year for Transporting Woman for Prostitution in Trafficking Case”, Greenfield Daily Reporter, January 16 2014.
- “Sentencing Thursday in Human Trafficking Case”, Canton Cherokee Tribune, January 17 2014.
- “Human Trafficker Gets Life in Prison”, CBS/WCTV-TV 2, October 16 2014.
- “ICE Arrests 29 People in 8 States, Including Hattiesburg, MS,” NBC/WLBT-TV 3, October 30 2015.
- https://wreg.com/man-accused-of-threatening-to-kill-clerk-arrested-for-traveling-to-have-sex-with-minor/ (2018)
- https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/underage-girl-rescued-sex-trafficking-hattiesburg (2019)
- http://www.wlox.com/teen-rescued-during-human-trafficking-sting-hub-city/ (2019)
- https://www.wdam.com/more-arrests-undercover-human-trafficking-operation-hattiesburg/ (2019)
- https://www.supertalk.fm/ten-day-trafficking-operation-leads-to-49-victims-13-arrests-and-multiple-leads/ (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Authorities Raid Two Alleged Prostitution Houses in Hattiesburg”, NBC/WDAM-TV 7, March 5 2003.
- “Four Arrested on Charges of Prostitution”, Hattiesburg American, March 6 2003.
- “Hattiesburg Massage Parlors Raided, 4 Arrested”, Biloxi Sun Herald, March 7 2003.
- “News Briefs”, Hattiesburg American, September 9 2006.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to Eight Arrests”, Hattiesburg American, September 7 2007.
- “HPD Arrests Six on Prostitution Charges”, Hattiesburg American, April 24 2009.
- http://www.wdam.com/story/10236648/six-hattiesburg-women-arrested-for-prostitution/ (2009)
- “7 Hattiesburg Women Charged with Prostitution”, Hattiesburg American, July 6 2011.
- “Raids at Spas Land 7 Women in Jail for Alleged Prostitution”, Hattiesburg American, July 6 2011.
- http://www.wdam.com/3-lamar-county-businesses-busted-in-undercover-prostitution-sting/ (2011)
- http://www.wdam.com/prostitution-sting-leads-to-3-arrest-in-hub-city/ (2015)
- https://www.wdam.com/multiple-arrested-during-forrest-county-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- https://www.wjtv.com/8-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2018)