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Sevierville is a city in east Tennessee with a population of approximately 17,000 residents. The city serves as the government seat of Sevier County and is located in eastern Tennessee, just southeast of Knoxville. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the county. For example, an operation in July 2017, led to the arrest of six women on prostitution charges and two men on charges of trafficking for a commercial sex act.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. A law enforcement respondent to the 2021 National Assessment Survey reported that the following demand reduction tactics have been used in Sevierville: web-based reverse stings (since 2002), identity disclosure, SOAP orders, public education, and employment loss. The Sevierville Police Department has participated in collaborative reverse sting operations. For example, in April 2022, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) arrested eight sex buyers during a two-day operation to address human trafficking in Sevier County. The TBI Human Trafficking Unit, Sevierville Police Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department, Gatlinburg Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit, and Office of the 4th Judicial District Attorney General assisted in the operation. Law enforcement placed several decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution with the specific intent of finding people trying to engage in commercial sex acts with minors. The eight men’s charges included solicitation of a minor and soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means. Their identities and arrest photos were released to the press.
- Sevierville Police Department
- Sevier County Sheriff’s Office
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)
- Office of the 4th Judicial District Attorney General
National Assessment Survey – 2021
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- https://tbinewsroom.com/eight-arrested-in-multi-agency-human-trafficking-operation-in-sevier-county (2022)
- https://www.wbir.com/tbi-sevier-county-human-trafficking-bust (2022)
- https://fox17.com/8-arrested-in-tennessee-human-trafficking-operation-crime-alertnest (2022)
Background on Background on Prostitution in the Area:
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