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Southaven is a city of approximately 55,000 residents, situated in the southern suburbs of Memphis in DeSoto County, Mississippi. Prostitution has been identified by police and others as generating a wide range of problems in the area, including male sex buyers responding to online ads being shot and robbed. 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. The Southaven Police Department has conducted web-based reverse stings using undercover officers. Arrested sex buyers have also had their identities reported in the media and often face fines. Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the city. In November, 2017, a member of the Southaven Board of Alderman was arrested by the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and booked into the county jail on charges related to procuring prostitution. He had communicated with a woman and promised her money in exchange for sex. A search warrant based on that charge led to the man also being charged with transporting child pornography. In December, 2017, the alderman from Southaven resigned was arrested and charged with procuring a prostituted person. The offender quit his post shortly after pleading not guilty in federal court in Oxford. An indictment charged the 57-year-old man with bringing computer files with “visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct” (child sexual abuse materials, or CSAM) across state lines from Tennessee into Mississippi in Nov. 2017.
- Southaven Police Department
- DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office
- Southaven Board of Alderman
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Southaven Police Chief Hopes Prostitution Sting Sends Message”, NBC/WMC-TV 5, February 23 2011.
- “Southaven Prostitution Sting Nets 11 Arrests; Police Use Online Bait as Lure to Hotel”, Memphis Commercial Appeal, February 23 2011.
- “Internet Fuels Child Trafficking Crimes in the Mid-South”, ABC/WATN-TV 24, April 25 2012.
- “15 Arrested in Hotel Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WMC-TV 5, January 27 2014.
- “High School Coach, Teacher Arrested During Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WMC-TV 5, January 27 2014.
- “Southaven Police Arrest 15 in Prostitution Sting”, FOX/WHBQ-TV 13, January 27 2014.
- “Coach Caught in Prostitution Sting”, Desoto Times Tribune, January 28 2014.
- “Desoto Co. Teacher Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WMC-TV 5, January 28 2014.
- “Teacher/Coach One of 15 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/WBMA-TV 33, January 28 2014.
- “A Dozen People Arrested in Southaven Prostitution Sting”, FOX/WHBQ-TV 13, July 25 2014.
- “Prostitution Sting Results in 12 Arrests”, ABC/KAIT-TV 8, July 25 2014.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
Sex Buyer Employment Loss:
- https://yallpolitics.com/southaven_alderman_facing_child_porn_and_soliciting_prostitution_charges/ (2017)
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- http://www.desototimes.com/stripping-prostitution-fight-comes-to-desoto (2008)
- http://www.desototimes.com/news/prostitution-sting-operation-nets-arrests-in-southaven (2016)
- https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/natchez-man-charged-with-sex-trafficking-missing-teen/ (2017)
- https://www.wmcactionnews5.com/fbi-investigates-kidnapping-forced-prostitution-of-teen-girl/ (2017)
- https://www.desotocountyms.gov/AgendaCenter/ (2018)
- https://www.magnoliastatelive.com/two-people-arrested-four-victims-identified-human-trafficking-sting/ (2022)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
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