Waynesville, NC

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

Waynesville is a city in North Carolina of approximately 10,000 residents located between the Great Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains, about 20 miles west of Asheville. It is the county seat and largest city in Haywood County, and it is the largest city in North Carolina west of Asheville. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city.

Police have been conducting reverse stings since 1997 and began conducting web-based reverse stings in 2005. In one web-based reversal, Waynesville police used a house in Hazelwood as a meeting place for arrests. Men responding to a decoy Craigslist ad drove from as far as Tennessee. An undercover female officer met the men at the door, while a surveillance team waited in a back room. The operation resulted in the arrests of seven men, including one Episcopal priest. One of the men had arranged to have sex with a 12 to 14 year old girl.

In December 2015, a Waynesville mother was arrested on allegations of soliciting prostitution and running her business from her home, where her young kids lived. An undercover operation started by Waynesville police led to her arrest that included the county’s drug task force.

In May 2019, numerous women came forward to report to police their concerns that a specific man was following them, making lewd and inappropriate comments toward them, and on several occasions offering them money for sex. Additionally, several complaints were received from business owners and other concerned citizens about incidents they had witnessed. The suspect was arrested in June 2019 after offering to pay an undercover officer for sex. He was later placed on supervised probation after pleading guilty in Haywood County court to two counts of stalking and one count of soliciting prostitution. Along with being placed on supervised probation, he was ordered to have no contact with any victims. While not a typical SOAP order, the offender was ordered to stay away from certain areas, defined by the location of the victim rather than by a specific area of the city.

In response to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NCOSE team for a National Institute of Justice grant to update and expand Demand Forum (Grant #2020-75-CX-0011), representatives from the Waynesville Police Department reported that public education specifically addressing demand for commercial sex has also occurred.

Key Partners

  • Waynesville Police Department
  • Haywood County Sheriff’s Department
  • Haywood County Drug Task Force
  • Haywood County Court

Key Sources

2021 National Assessment II Survey

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure, Stay-Away Orders:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State North Carolina
Type City
Population 10145
Comments are closed.