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Shreveport is a city of approximately 190,000 residents, located in northwest Louisiana. Most of the city lies within Caddo Parish. While recent years have seen a slight decline in commercial sex-related arrests, the Shreveport Police Department has insisted that prostitution is a still a formidable problem in the city, and includes sex trafficking a numerous related crimes occurring in commercial sex transactions. Among the documented related crimes have been the endangerment of infants present during commercial sex, and other crimes of violence and drug offenses. To address these crimes, SPD officers utilize several demand-driven tactics to identify and apprehend sex buyers. In September 2013, the Shreveport Police Department announced a “zero tolerance” policy regarding prostitution.
Street-level reverse stings, first implemented in 1986, have recently been conducted three to six times per month. Operations typically employ the use of one or more undercover female officers, who serve as decoys. When johns attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are arrested. A reverse sting occurring in March, 2013 resulted in the arrest of seven johns whose photos, names, home towns, and dates of birth were released to the media. In their work, the SPD frequently collaborates with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police, and officers from neighboring Bossier City.
Web stings, first conducted in the city in 2005, have also been conducted at regular intervals (two to three times per month). As a warning to other would-be sex buyers, the Shreveport Police Department may release the names, ages, and addresses of arrestees on their website. In June 2012, Shreveport and Bossier City police participated in the FBI’s Operation Cross Country VI, a three-day sweep of individuals suspected to be engaged in the sex trafficking of minors. Of the 104 people arrested, 30 were apprehended in the Shreveport/Bossier City area. Law enforcement officials suspect the city’s location– situated along Interstate 20, on the state’s border with Texas and Arkansas– has led many to favor it for trafficking operations. In July 2019, thirteen men were arrested by Shreveport police and charged with solicitation of prostitution after allegedly offering an undercover officer money in exchange for sex. The men reportedly offered to pay anywhere between $30 and $100. The sting operation occurred at a hotel in the Shreveport area.
In October, 2021, four men were arrested during operation ‘Party Over’ — aimed at targeting prostitution and human trafficking in Shreveport – and were charged with soliciting prostitution. The nature of the operation (whether web-based or street level) was not reported. In August, 2022, Shreveport police conducted a special operation to combat human trafficking in the area, resulting in the arrests of eight people on prostitution and human trafficking offenses. Six of the arrests were sex buyers charged with soliciting prostitution, and their identities were included in news reports. In February, 2023, another 11 male sex buyers were arrested, and their identities included in news reports.
In 2013, the Louisiana John School was launched covering Shreveport and Bossier City. An excerpt from the program’s home page:
“Louisiana John School is a diversion or sentencing/probation condition program for people arrested for soliciting the services of a Commercial Sex Worker. As a comprehensive public health program the John School will address issues to include violence associated with prostitution, the link between prostitution and addiction, and the public health implications of the same. Offered to first time offenders and habitual offenders, classes range from a single one day course to several courses over several sessions. The single one day class is an eight-hour program offered on Saturdays only which features speakers and presentations on the above referenced topics. The multiple sessions class components of John School vary with greater specificity and intensity with each charge.”
The program is open to self-referrals and non-criminal-justice referrals, as well as accepting men arrested in reverse stings who attend as part of a diversion program or sentence. Louisiana Law requires all persons convicted of Prostitution shall be referred for counseling concerning AIDS (Louisiana RS 14:82), and the program provides health counseling and expands the education topics to other areas. The program is open to persons charged and/or convicted of:
- Soliciting for Prostitutes
- Inciting Prostitution
- Promoting Prostitution
- Prostitution by Massage
First time offenders convicted of Soliciting the Services of Prostitutes or any of the above referenced charges are eligible to attend the One Day Course as part of their pre/post sentencing. Non-Violent Offenders charged with Soliciting the Services of a Prostitute or any of the above referenced charges are eligible to attend in preparation of defense work for pre-trial disposition. Habitual Offenders: Non-Violent Offenders convicted of two or more charges for Soliciting the Services of a Prostitute or any of the above referenced charges are eligible to attend the John School Recovery Skills Program as part of their pre/post sentencing or probation. Length and terms of condition of John School Recovery Skills Program is based upon case by case evaluation and assessment results.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in December, 2017, a Shreveport City prosecutor was fired following his arrest on multiple charges, including soliciting sex from a prostituted woman. The Shreveport City Attorney’s Office confirmed that the sex buyer had been fired from his job as a city prosecutor. He was initially held at the Caddo Correctional Center, according to the jail’s inmate roster. His bail amount was set at $30,700, according to Shreveport police. The listed charges against the man were malfeasance in office, abuse of office and soliciting for prostitution. He had allegedly used his position to influence the disposition of a City Court case in exchange for sex.
- Shreveport Police Department
- Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office
- Bossier City Police Department
- Lousiana State Police
- Charlotte Edwards (therapist, Louisiana John School)
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “8 Booked in Crackdown”, Baton Rouge Advocate, August 24 1986.
- “Ten Arrested in Prostitution Operation”, Baton Rouge Advocate, August 27 1994.
- “Police Target Neighborhood”, Baton Rouge Advocate, March 18 2000.
- “Joint Reverse Sting Operation Nets 14 Arrests”, Press Release, Shreveport Police Department, February 2 2001.
- “Police Conduct Prostitution Operation”, Press Release, Shreveport Police Department, March 26 2004.
- “Shreveport Police Vice Squad Cracks Down on Prostitution”, Shreveport Times, May 29 2004.
- “Sting Nets 14 Arrests”, Shreveport Times, November 11 2004.
- “Police: Juror Needs Time to Get Well”, Shreveport Times, April 6 2006.
- “More than a Dozen Arrested in Shreveport Vice Sting Operations”, CBS/KSLA-TV 12, March 18 2013.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Cops Taking Action against Prostitution with Technology”, CBS/KSLA-TV 12, April 25 2014.
- https://www.shreveporttimes.com/13-men-arrested-shreveport-prostitution-solicitation (2019)
- https://www.ksla.com/men-accused-soliciting-prostitution/ (2019)
- https://www.shreveporttimes.com/25-total-charged-multi-agency-prostitution-sting-last-week (2019)
- https://www.ktbs.com/human-trafficking-detail-leads-to-8-arrests (2022)
- https://www.ksla.com/11-people-arrested-human-trafficking-operation-shreveport/ (2023)
Other Arrests of Sex Buyers, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.arklatexhomepage.com/operation-party-over-six-arrested-in-spd-weekend-prostitution-sting/ (2021)
- https://www.ksla.com//party-over-spd-prostitution-human-trafficking-sting-nets-6-arrests/ (2021)
Loss of Employment:
- “Program to Stop Solicitors Starts in Shreveport-Bossier”, ABC/KTBS-TV 3, May 22 2013.
- “Shreveport Police: Zero Tolerance for Prostitution”, ABC/KTBS-TV 3, September 20 2013.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Arrests Made in Underage Prostitution Sting”, CBS/KSLA-TV 12, June 25 2012.
- “3 Juveniles Recovered, 16 Pimps, 76 Prostitutes Arrested in Sex Trafficking Operation”, FOX/WXIX-TV 19, June 24 2014.
- “Killeen-Area Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking a Minor”, ABC/KXXV-TV 25, July 18 2014.
- “Shreveport Police Make Human Trafficking Arrest”, Shreveport Times, October 8 2014.
- “Two Adults, One Juvenile Busted for Human Trafficking, Prostitution,” NBC/KTAL-TV 6, December 18 2014.
- “Texan Pleads Guilty to Juvenile Prostitution,” Brownsville Herald, October 9 2015.
- “Three Jailed, Baby Removed, in Prostitution Sting,” Shreveport Times, March 17 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Shreveport Police: Zero Tolerance for Prostitution”, ABC/KTBS-TV 3, September 20 2013.
- “Diversion Program Offers Prostitutes a Way out of the Life,” Shreveport Times, March 11 2016.
- https://www.bossiernow.com/friday-night-sting-nets-6-arrests-of-pimps-prostitutes-and-johns/ (2020)
- https://www.arklatexhomepage.com/2-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-at-south-shreveport-massage-parlor (2021)
- https://www.ksla.com/two-arrested-prostitution-massage-parlor/ (2022)
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