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Walker County is a county located in central Alabama. It has a population of roughly 65,000 residents and the county seat is Jasper, AL. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented in the county, especially within the last decade. In May 2011, members of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) conducted a street-level reverse sting outside one of the city’s motels, using an undercover female officer as a decoy. The operation resulted in the arrest of four sex buyers, all of whom had their names and other identifying information released to the media.
In addition to street-level reverse stings, there have also been numerous multi-agency operations in the other communities and unincorporated areas of Walker County. For example, in November 2017, Walker County participated in a five-day operation aimed at child predators. ALEA’s Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force announced charges against two men arrested during Operation Standing Guard II, which occurred in the Birmingham area. During the initiative, ICAC seized 100 electronic devices, carried out eight search warrants, identified 22 children that were being sexually exploited through social media, and initiated two sexual assault cases. In addition, the Alabama ICAC Task Force collaborated with the Georgia ICAC Task Force to conduct Operation Hidden Guardian. The Georgia ICAC Task Force arrested 21 suspects, with seven cases involving Alabama citizens who traveled to Columbus, GA, with the expectation of sexually abusing a child.
In addition, Walker County has also experienced multiple instances of prostitution and sex trafficking by officials from Carbon Hill (an incorporated city within the county). For example, in 2013, as a result of a joint investigation by the Walker County District Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General, the Mayor of Carbon Hill was arrested on a total of eleven charges, all sexual offenses. According to the indictment from the grand jury, the charges consisted of four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment, and one count of soliciting a prostitute. In addition, he had allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with some of the victims while they were in the custody of the Carbon Hill City Jail. In 2014, a former Carbon Hill constable and resident was arrested on 12 counts of including second-degree rape, enticement of a child, and soliciting prostitution. The sex trafficker had been paying older children (16 -17 years old) to find and lure other juveniles to the trafficker, and he would then pay money to sexually exploit the children. In 2018, he was convicted on all 12 counts and sentenced to 80 years in Walker County Circuit Court for child sex trafficking. He received the maximum sentence of 12 months for each of the four offenses of soliciting prostitution.
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Four Men Arrested, Charged with Soliciting Prostitution,” Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle, June 3 2011.
- “Clanton Man Arrested after Smoking, Stolen Guard Humvee Found by Roadside; More Alabama News,” Birmingham News, June 3 2011.
- https://www.wbrc.com/story/carbon-hill-mayor-arrested-on-sex-charges (2013)
- https://www.al.com/spotnews/carbon_hill_mayor_had_sex_with (2013)
- https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/child_predator_operations_land (2017)
- https://www.annistonstar.com/the_st_clair_times/moody-police-assist-in-multi-agency-sting-targeting-child-predators (2017)
- http://mountaineagle.com/stories/carbon-hill-man-sentenced-to-80-years-in-child-prostitution-case (2018)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area: