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Salisbury is a city of approximately 34,000 residents, located in central North Carolina’s Rowan County situated along the 1-85 corridor. Prostitution and the sex trafficking of minors have been reported in the area, and members of the community have complained to law enforcement about prostitution-related activities. On at least one occasion, a prostituted person was shot during an encounter. For example, in January 2018, three people were arrested following a prostitution encounter in Salisbury that led to a shooting. According to Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, a Backpage sex ad led to an alleged prostitution hookup in Salisbury. The encounter led to one adult shooting the prostituted adult in the leg, leading to hospitalization. The first individual was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, felony discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling, and solicitation of prostitution. The second was charged with prostitution, and the third was charged with promotion of prostitution for profit.
In an effort to reduce demand for commercial sex, the Salisbury Police Department (SPD) has conducted reverse stings since at least 2005. For example, in June 2014, the SPD conducted a small street-level reversal in the city following complaints from residents in the Fulton Heights, Mitchell, and Maupin Avenue areas. After several individuals in the neighborhood reported that a man “had been approaching women from the ages of 12 to 74 offering to pay them for sex,” the Salisbury Police Department deployed two undercover female officers to the area. When the sex buyer approached one of the decoys and offered her $30 for sex, he was arrested by police. His name, age, address, and arrest photo were publicized in local media outlets.
Some arrests of sex buyers are the result of ad hoc opportunities that arise while police are engaged in other parol or enforcement activities. For example, in February 2021, a Salisbury man was arrested during a traffic stop and was later charged with soliciting prostitution in addition to traffic citations. The woman with him was charged with conspiring to commit prostitution and resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer in addition to two counts of failing to appear in court. The pair had been stopped by a Rowan County deputy initially because of an expired license plate, an inspection violation, and an inactive license. The pair allegedly provided differing stories to deputies about where they were going. Upon further discussion, the man eventually admitted he had picked the woman up for the purpose of buying sex from her.
- Salisbury Police Department
- Rowan County Sheriff’s Office
Street-Level Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:
- “Prostitution Sting”, Salisbury Post, May 6 2005.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 6; Complaints by Neighbors in Sedgefield Acres Prompt Police Action”, Salisbury Post, May 6 2005.
- “Arrests Made in Prostitution Undercover Operation”, Salisbury Post, November 3 2007.
- “Man Arrested for Trying to Buy Sex from Undercover Officer in Salisbury”, CBS/WBTV-TV 3, June 6 2014.
- “Police: Man Tried to Pay Undercover Officer for Sex in Fulton Heights”, Salisbury Post, June 6 2014.
Sex Buyer Arrests with Identity Disclosure:
Background on Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Prosecutor Says Suspect May Have Infected Three Teens”, Salisbury Post, April 10 2002.
- “Testimony: Man Advised Teens on Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, April 11 2002.
- “Man Guilty of Promoting Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, April 12 2002.
- “Indecent Liberties Charge Filed”, Salisbury Post, March 25 2011.
- “Authorities: 53-Year-Old Asked Teenager for Sex Acts”, Salisbury Post, July 9 2012.
- https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/crime/task-force-to-fight-child-sex-trafficking-in-rowan-county (2014)
- https://www.wbtv.com/2022/05/16/rowan-county-man-arrested-monday-sex-crimes-charges/ (2022)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Charges Filed against Three”, Salisbury Post, September 28 2006.
- “Lafayette Street Woman Found Guilty of Loitering for Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, October 26 2006.
- “Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, August 23 2007.
- “Two Women Arrested and Charged with Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, November 2 2007.
- “3 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Salisbury Post, December 2 2009.
- “3 Naked People Face Multiple Charges”, Salisbury Post, June 6 2010.
- “Two Charged with Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, August 9 2010.
- “Woman Charged with Prostitution”, Salisbury Post, June 18 2011.
- “Woman Charged with Prostituting for Gas”, Salisbury Post, July 21 2011.
- https://www.cbs17.com/news/nc-prostitution-dispute-leads-to-shooting-and-arrests-deputies-say/ (2018)