Robertson County, TN

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

Robertson County is in north-central Tennessee, north of Nashville.  Springfield is the county seat for Robertson County, and has approximately 15,000 residents, and other substantial municipalities in the county include Millersville (a town of about 7,000, with some portion in Sumner County).  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Springfield and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Robertson county. In 2011, a study of human trafficking in Tennessee identified Robertson County as a relatively rural area where this problem is present.  Commercial sex and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates (including human trafficking) result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in 2009 a federal investigation uncovered a child sex trafficking operation based in Nashville, with ties to Robertson County. The investigation began after an anonymous tip to police alleged that students from a high school in Robertson County were being hired as prostitutes. The joint investigation by the Metro Nashville Police Department and the FBI led to the arrest of at least five human trafficking conspirators, and agents found a 16-year-old girl at a Murfreesboro hotel who said she had been exploited by them for commercial sex. The girl said she had been with more than 20 “clients” during the summer.  Documents showed there were at least four underage girls who allegedly also worked as prostitutes (i.e., child trafficking victims) over the prior five years.  Two men were indicted for transporting the teen victims across state lines to Kentucky. Another man would take calls and set up meetings between the buyers and the victims.

The Springfield Police Department began conducting street-level reverse stings in 1990. In late 2007, officers collaborated with members of the Gallatin Police Department (in adjacent Sumner County) and agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to conduct a reverse sting. Directed by complaints from local residents of suspected prostitution activity, police placed an undercover female officer on 18th Avenue. As johns approached and attempted to solicit sex from her, they were apprehended by police. A total of seven sex buyers were arrested, including two juveniles. The five adult johns had their names and photos published in local media outlets. Millersville is a city that occupies parts of both Robertson and Sumner counties, about 10 miles north of Nashville, and has also addressed commercial sex demand. For example, in October 2017, a former Vice Chair of the Millersville Planning Commission was arrested and charged with six counts of “patronizing prostitution” or soliciting a prostitute. In November 2018, Millersville police conducted a reverse sting where 11 men responded to a “decoy” online ad, and were cited for solicitation of prostitution when they attempted to buy sex from female undercover officers.

Key Partners

  • Gallatin Police Department
  • Springfield Police Department
  • Metro Nashville Police Department
  • FBI
State Tennessee
Type County
Population 70177
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