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Taylors is a census-designated place in Greenville County, SC, and has a population of approximately 22,000 residents. Taylors is the Greenville/Spartanburg area’s largest suburb although it is not incorporated as a city. It is part of the Greenville–Mauldin–Easley MSA. While prostitution and sex trafficking are not significant issues in the city, reports of their occurrence have been documented. Among the more serious crimes associated with the city’s commercial sex market is the online commercial sexual exploitation of children. For example, in 2018, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has charged 45 suspects in a joint operation tied to child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in Upstate South Carolina. Investigators posed as 14-year-olds in online chats and communicate with individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The sheriff’s office worked with the Greer Police Department, which served as the base of the operation. Other agencies involved included the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the Mauldin Police Department, the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Operation Milestone” resulted in a total of 45 arrests; 14 for online sexual solicitation of a minor, 17 for solicitating prostitution (sex buyers), two for sex trafficking, and 10 for misdemeanor prostitution charges. Two more suspects identified in the operation were charged with drug crimes. Two male residents of Taylors were arrested during the operation, one for soliciting prostitution and the second for criminal solicitation of a minor; criminal sexual conduct with a minor, or attempt – victim 11 to 14 years of age inclusive second degree; and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, first degree. The identities and photos of arrested offenders were included in reports from local media outlets.
While police have yet to conduct reverse sting operations in Taylors, reverse stings conducted in nearby cities or throughout the county have resulted in the arrest of Taylors residents. For example, in 2014 during a web-based reverse sting led by the Greenville Police Department, resulted in the arrest of 25 male sex buyers for soliciting prostitution. Two of the arrested offenders were residents of Taylors. Their identities and photos were released to the public by local media outlets.
Shaming and employment loss are consequences of sex buying in Taylors. For example, in 2019, a former Taylors’ P.E. teacher was arrested during a web-based reverse sting conducted by the Greenville Police Department. The former P.E. teacher was one of 27 male sex buyers arrested during “Operation May Day.” In the investigation undercover officers posted decoy ads on websites known for prostitution and arranged meeting with potential sex buyers. All 27 male sex buyers were arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution upon their arrival to the predetermined location. A spokeswoman for Greenville County Schools confirmed that the former Taylors Elementary P.E. teacher was placed on administrative leave as a result of his arrest. The identities and photos of arrested offenders were included in reports by local media outlets.
- Greenville Police Department
- Greenville County Sheriff’s Office
- South Carolina Attorney General’s Office
- Greenville County District Attorney’s Office
- Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office
- Greer Police Department
- Mauldin Police Department
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Greenville County Schools
- Taylors Elementary
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/crime/2014/01/06/25-arrested-during-one-day-prostitution-sting-authorities-say-/4345241/ (2014)
- https://www.wltx.com/article/news/local/45-arrests-made-in-sc-child-sex-predator-sting/101-524536509 (2018)
- https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/03/01/45-arrests-made-child-predator-operation-millstone/381749002/ (2018)
Employment Loss, Shaming:
- https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2019/05/14/greenville-police-arrest-27-men-prostitution-sting/3668858002/ (2019)
- https://www.counton2.com/news/south-carolina-news/27-arrested-in-greenville-prostitution-sting/ (2019)
- https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2019/05/14/greenville-police-arrest-27-men-prostitution-sting/3668858002/?fbclid=IwAR1uU9L3YVpyQ5oZsn5XqUxRZNBkttBQM53DhOyDsRbL3rWHNYw5KRNDsn4 (2019)
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