Sumter, SC

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Sumter is located in South Carolina, with a population of approximately 43,000 residents. It is the county seat of Sumter County. Prostitution has been a well-documented problem within the city, often generating numerous complaints to police from local residents.

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.  Reverse stings have been conducted in the city of Sumter since 1983, and have continued up to the present day. There have also been several incidences of violence and murder of both sex buyers and those sold for sex. In July 2002, a 40-year-old Sumter woman was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on the side of the road in what the local press referred to as “an apparent prostitution deal gone sour.” The suspect, who was deaf and mute, confessed to the crime through a sign language interpreter. He was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.

In May 2008, a 26-year-old woman turned herself into Sumter police after shooting and killing a man. Police say the woman was looking for money at the house where the shooting took place. The victim was there with a group of men. The woman’s mother told News 10 that she was there to perform a sex service on one of the men in the home when the men tried to rape her, so she pulled a gun and shot him. The victim’s wife denied that her husband was buying sex from the woman. The woman’s bond was set at $10,000. No available data on the court hearing could be found at the time of this page’s publicaiton. Seven years later, however, in May 2015, the same woman would be charged with prostitution and possession of drugs.

In May 2010, the Sumter Police Department coordinated with officers from the Narcotics Division of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office’s (SCSO) to conduct a street-level reverse sting. The operation, which deployed several undercover female officers as decoys, was conducted in response to citizen complaints about prostitution activity in certain areas of the city. A total of nine sex buyers were arrested. The names, ages, addresses and photos of those arrested for prostitution were distributed in press releases and the local media. A similar reverse sting was conducted in February 2013, resulting in the arrest of seven sex buyers, and the photos of the arrestees were posted in local news outlets. In January 2014, police again conducted a web-based reverse sting in response to complaints from the community. The operation resulted in the arrest of 17 sex buyers.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State South Carolina
Type City
Population 42976
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