Savannah, GA

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

Savannah is a mid-sized city of under 150,000 residents, located on the southeast coast of Georgia. It has a robust tourism industry, seaport, and access to a major interstate highway, I-95, that contributes to a local sex trade.  The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) regards as a priority issue prostitution occurring in hotels (as well as storefront brothels, such as massage businesses) and advertised via the internet. Sex trafficking is also known to be present in Savannah, and the city is known to have been part of major international trafficking operations.  For example, in February 2014 a man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in coordinating what prosecutors say was a sex trafficking ring that forced women into prostitution and traded them between Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.  At least six women said he forced them to have sex with 30 or more men each day for $25 apiece. Most of the women came to the U.S. from Mexico.

Among the problems noted by police as reported in news outlets are at least one prostituted person having been charged with engaging in commercial sex while knowingly being infected with HIV, and the SCMPD having “tracked 10 percent of the street robberies reported jurisdiction-wide and half of all robberies in the Southside Precinct to hold-ups of prostitutes in area hotels and motels.”  Prostitution and crimes connected with it present liability issues for hotels, and the SCMPD has attempted to conduct meetings with hotel owners to educate them and seek cooperation in investigations and enforcement actions.  In another case, at least three local firefighters were charged with “cruelty to the infirm and principal to prostitution.”  The case involved two mentally challenged men who frequently visited the fire station. The firefighters allegedly provided the visitors with alcohol and watched as one of the men had sex with a woman who was paid to perform sex acts with the disabled man.  A serial killer who targeted prostituted women also has operated in the city.

Recent examples of reverse stings include a two-day web-based operation resulting in the arrest of 13 “johns” in and around Savannah.  Also arrested were seven women for prostitution and one man for pimping.  The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department partnered with five other law enforcement agencies to make the arrests in hotels and motels frequented by users of the website Undercover officers advertised as prostitutes to arrange dates at hotels, according to SCMPD spokesman Julian Miller. The first day of the operation focused on the midtown area of Savannah and the second was directed toward hotels near Interstate 95 exits in Savannah, Pooler, Garden City and Port Wentworth.


Key Partners

  • Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department
    • Neighborhood Task Force (NTF), SCMPD’s Tactical Reaction and Prevention (TRAP) unit
    • Officers from the Southside and West Chatham precincts
  • Savannah Area Intelligence Center (SARIC)
  • Pooler Police Department
  • Garden City Police Department
  • Port Wentworth Police Department
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Department of Homeland Security


Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Georgia
Type City
Population 147088
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