Thomasville is the county seat of Thomas County, Georgia. With a population of about 19,000, it is the second largest city in southwest Georgia, after Albany. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in 2016 two Thomasville residents were convicted and sentenced on federal charges for child sex trafficking and sentenced to federal prison terms. An undercover investigator arranged to meet a girl featured in an online sex trafficking advertisement posted by the two suspects; investigators later established that the suspects had paid for the online advertisements and vehicle rentals to transport the victim for prostitution.
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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Thomasville Police Department (TPD) has conducted stings, reverse stings, and patrols that focus on responding to these problems. For example, in February 2018, three people were arrested and charged in Thomasville as a result of an undercover prostitution sting. Thomasville Police had received numerous complaints about the Stevens Street and Green Street area, prompting increased patrols and undercover stings in the area. In February 2019, Thomasville Police made a prostitution arrest in response to several complaints about prostitution in local neighborhoods. The TPD increased patrols around Wall and Booker Streets, and one night an officer caught a man and woman inside a vehicle parked behind a vacant home on Wall Street. The woman was charged with prostitution, the man was charged with solicitation, and their names and photos were published in news reports.
- Thomasville Police Department
Shaming of Arrested Sex Buyer:
- http://www.walb.com/thomasville-police-arrest-3-in-undercover-prostitution-operation/ (2018)
- http://www.walb.com/2019/02/19/thomasville-police-make-prostitution-arrest-after-complaints/ (2019)
- https://www.wctv.tv/Thomasville-Police-make-prostitution-arrest-after-complaints-in-local-neighborhood (2019)
- https://www.timesenterprise.com/news/local_news/woman-man-charged-with-prostitution-solicitation (2019)
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area: