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Statesville is a city of approximately 27,140 residents in North Carolina. It is the government seat of Iredell County, and is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area. Due to Statesville’s close proximity to the City of Charlotte, instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city. This activity and its ancillary crimes have generated complaints from residents and businesses to local law enforcement. Among the more serious crimes associated with the area’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
Efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex in Statesville have been employed by local law enforcement. For example, in October 2019, as a result of neighborhood complaints to police, the Statesville Police Department, with assistance from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a prostitution sting operation targeting both prostituted people and sex buyers in the area. As a result of the operation, three women were arrested on prostitution and drug offenses and one male sex buyer was arrested for soliciting prostitution. The identities and ages of arrested offenders were released to the public by local media outlets.
In addition to reverse sting operations, sex buyers have also been arrested through alternative investigations and residential reports to police. For example, in 1971, officials from the SPD arrested two male college students for operating a “bawdy house,” in which the offenders were prostituting women in the house. According to reports, when police arrived at the scene, 14 men were inside the house.
Loss of employment is also a consequence of sex buying in Statesville. For example, in 1981, a Statesville police officer was arrested during a street-level reverse sting operation conducted by the Charlotte Police Department. According to reports, the sex buyer immediately told CPD officers that he was a Statesville police officer. Police arrested the officer for soliciting prostitution despite asking to be released for informing them he was a Statesville police officer. As a result of his arrest, he was not fired by the city police department but instead his position went under review by a state standards commission, where his police certification would either be suspended or permanently revoked. The sex buyer’s identity and age were included in reports by local media outlets.
Reverse Stings with Buyer Arrests and Identity Disclosure:
- Police Arrest Four Persons in Prostitution (1971)
- https://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/4-arrested-in-prostitution-operation-in-statesville-police-say (2019)
- https://www.statesville.com/news/crime/police-sheriff-s-office-orchestrate-prostitution-sting-four-arrested/article_0ce826c8-ec2b-11e9-a83a-47a264107029.html (2019)
- https://www.wccbcharlotte.com/2019/10/11/4-arrested-in-iredell-county-prostitution-sting/ (2019)
- https://www.mooresvilletribune.com/news/police-sheriff-s-office-orchestrate-prostitution-sting-four-arrested/article_ac1f8817-344b-523d-b143-b87fa059256e.html (2019)
Employment Loss with Identity Disclosure:
- 24 men arrested in West Trade decoy operation (1981)
- Police ‘prostitute’ decoys net 30 men on W. Trade (1981)
- Officer to keep job? (1981)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.wbtv.com/story/30967707/neighbors-and-police-find-success-fighting-crime-in-statesville-neighborhood/ (2016)
- https://statesville.com/news/local/human-trafficking-is-a-topic-we-simply-cannot-ignore/article_d092d76e-09ab-11eb-aa5f-fb305aabedbf.html (2020)
- https://www.wbtv.com/2021/11/15/man-jailed-under-13m-bond-child-rape-human-trafficking-charges-iredell-co/ (2021)
- https://whky.com/woman-arrested-on-felony-drug-charges-for-second-time-in-two-weeks/ (2022)
- https://www.iredellfreenews.com/sheriff-four-suspects-face-charges-undercover-investigation (2023)