|IT Based Tactics||✓|
South Point is a village in Lawrence County, Ohio with a population of approximately 3,500 residents. South Point is a part of the Huntington–Ashland, WV-KY-OH metropolitan statistical area. Although instances of prostitution and sex trafficking are limited within the village, they have been well-documented in surrounding communities, such as in the neighboring city of Huntington, WV. According to a report by the Huntington Police Department, the top three issues that police received calls for in 2015 were drugs, prostitution, and panhandling. In addition, police reported that prostitution arrests close to doubled from 2014 to 2015. To combat the rising number of prostitution-related arrests, officers began deploying tactics focused on tackling the demand for prostitution in the city, such as reverse stings and identity disclosure. For example, in 2013, the HPD conducted a street-level reverse sting that resulted in the citation of 17 male sex buyers, in addition to one felony arrest for sex trafficking/pimping a minor. Officers also noted that the majority of men (nine) cited in the sting, were not residents of the city. In addition, two of the men that were cited were residents of South Point Village.
In 2015, the Huntington Police Department began posting pictures of those arrested for soliciting prostitution on an electronic billboard in the city’s downtown area. The department’s Police Chief said in order to reduce prostitution arrests in the city, officials must tackle the demand side of the commercial sex market:
“It’s a concept not unlike the supply and demand when we’re talking about illegal drugs, but there is a supply and demand in the prostitution situation. So the men–the customers are the demand side–so if we can break that cycle and eliminate that demand side or diminish that demand side then we’re going to have some success in that regard.”
Identity disclosure and loss of employment are consequences of buying sex in the village. For example, in October 2015, the former South Point Village Administrator was cited for “soliciting a prostitute” near Ritter Park in Huntington, WV. Investigators said the 76-year-old man was found near the park in his city-owned SUV with a prostituted woman inside with him. The sex buyer resigned several days after the citation, effective immediately, and turned in his keys to his office and car.
Identity Disclosure, Loss of Employment:
- https://www.wsaz.com/content/news/South-Point-City-Manager-Cited-for-Soliciting-Prostitute-in-Huntington (2015)
- https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/south-point-official-resigns-after-prostitution-citation (2015)
- https://www.irontontribune.com/2015/10/20/sp-village-administrator-cited-for-soliciting-prostitution (2015)
Background on Prostitution in the Area: