Rocky Mount, 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

Rocky Mount is a city of approximately 54,000 residents, located roughly equidistant between Raleigh and Greenville near Wilson in Edgecombe and Nash Counties, North Carolina. Local residents and law enforcement have reported problems with prostitution in the city for over two decades. Rocky Mount has also served as the operating base for at least one serial killer targeting prostituted women; between 2003 and 2009, ten individuals— all African-American and with a history of drug abuse and suspected prostitution — were murdered and dumped along rural roads just outside of the city. When asked by the Rocky Mount Telegram about the case in 2009, a representative from the Rocky Mount Police Department commented:

“A prostitute is an easy victim of crime, and the practice certainly can end up leading to a very violent crime… it’s not easy to investigate because most crimes against a prostitute, even very violent crimes like assault and rape, go unreported.” 

To combat the underlying demand driving the city’s commercial sex market, the RMPD has conducted reverse sting operations since at least 2002. Operations are often conducted at street level, and employ one or more undercover female officers as decoys. Following their arrests, male sex buyers have at times had their identities released to local media outlets. When asked about impetus for the operations, the RMPD has stated:

“Johns typically have more to lose… They don’t want to be caught and have their name put out there. And it’s a matter of simple economics. If you take away demand, you eliminate the problem.”

Key Partners

  • Rocky Mount Police Department
  • Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrests:

Reverse Stings:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police Force Going after Prostitution”, Rocky Mount Telegram, July 6 2002.
  • “Police Make Sixth Prostitution Arrest”, Rocky Mount Telegram, July 29 2002.
  • “Crackdown on Prostitution Continues”, Rocky Mount Telegram, August 6 2002.
  • “City Police Arrest Another Prostitute”, Rocky Mount Telegram, August 19 2002.
  • “Police Continue Prostitution Stings”, Rocky Mount Telegram, September 7 2002.
  • “Woman Arrested for Propositioning Officers”, Rocky Mount Telegram, October 12 2002.
  • “Woman Again Face Prostitution Charges”, Rocky Mount Telegram, October 28 2002.
  • “Officer Arrests Woman Who Offers Him Sex, Weed”, Rocky Mount Telegram, November 9 2002.
  • “Woman Again Charged with Prostitution”, Rocky Mount Telegram, November 13 2002.
  • “Soliciting Charges Dropped against Tarboro Man”, Rocky Mount Telegram, November 21 2002.
  • “Prostitute May Have Allowed ‘John’ to Escape”, Rocky Mount Telegram, December 6 2002.
  • “Veteran Prostitute Arrested Again”, Rocky Mount Telegram, January 2 2003.
  • “Teen Prostitute Arrested Twice– in One Hour”, Rocky Mount Telegram, January 29 2003.
  • “Motel Sting Nets Suspected Hooker”, Rocky Mount Telegram, February 8 2003.
  • “Raleigh Woman Charged”, Rocky Mount Telegram, April 14 2003.
  • “Police Arrest Nine Suspected Prostitutes”, Rocky Mount Telegram, August 19 2003.
  • “4 Busted in Undercover Internet Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WNCT-TV 9, June 10 2011.
  • “Police Reprise Effort Aimed at Violence, Prostitution”, Rocky Mount Telegram, July 25 2011.
  • “Rocky Mount Prostitutes: Why Some Keep Working the Streets, How Others Stopped”, NBC/WITN-TV 32, November 21 2011.
State North Carolina
Type City
Population 53957
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