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West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana has a population of approximately 27,000 residents and is part of the Baton Rouge metropolitan statistical area. Prostitution activity has been well-documented throughout the parish. 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, a man booked in 2019 on charges tied to prostitution was accused in 2021 of forcing at least two juvenile girls to be sexually abused by strangers for money at a Baton Rouge hotel. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety said the alleged offender was arrested on human trafficking charges when law enforcement uncovered the sex-trafficking operation after they found two girls, ages 13 and 14, at the a motel on Airline Highway in August, 2021. The teens told investigators that a man had them set up “plays” by phone with other men. Arrest documents noted that “plays” is a commonly used slang term for prostitution. According to the girls, the man old them they had to “earn” the right to stay in his hotel room by being sexually abused by random men. One of the girls told officers “it felt like I was being forced to do it” and “they would dump me out on the streets if I didn’t make money,” according to arrest documents. The 14-year-old girl had recently run away from her foster home with another 15-year-old girl, who was also being “taken to different motels around Baton Rouge.” The man had also been arrested in 2019 on similar charges when he was accused of forcing women into prostitution at another hotel in East Baton Rouge. Prostitution-related violence is also common within the parish. For example, an investigation by the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office found that two teenagers were working together to lure and rob a male sex buyer. The 15-year-old boy used the 16-year-old girl as “bait” to get the target to a motel along LA 415 in Baton Rouge by posting an advertisement for prostitution. When the man arrived a struggle broke out, and the girl accidentally shot the boy. Both teenagers were charged with armed robbery. The pair had three weapons with them at the time of the incident. The man who was targeted in the robbery was charged with soliciting 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. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include the disclosure of sex buyer identities and employment loss. For example, in October, 2015, police arrested a West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy accused of propositioning prostituted women for free sex, flashing his badge and threatening to jail them if they refused to comply. The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office promptly fired the deputy, a corrections officer at the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison, as soon as Baton Rouge police contacted them about the deputy’s arrest. The investigation into the allegations began after Baton Rouge police received tips from confidential informants that a law enforcement officer was coercing women for sexual favors. The allegations leading to the deputy’s arrest stemmed from two incidents: one in July and another in October, 2015, both involving the same woman. The woman called Baton Rouge police and told them a man later identified as the deputy propositioned her through an advertisement on Backpage.com. When the man showed up to a hotel to meet her for paid sex, he showed her his badge and demanded free sex, according to a probable cause affidavit. The woman told police he threatened to take her to jail if she didn’t agree to the terms, so she complied.
- West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office
- Baton Rouge Police Department
Sex Buyer Identity Disclosure, Loss of Employment:
Local Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, Related CSAM in the Area:
- “Group Claims B.R. Has Human Trafficking Problem”, CBS/WAFB-TV 9, February 5 2010.
- “Victim Speaks Out Against Human Trafficking”, NBC/WVLA-TV 33, January 26 2011.
- “Police Say Missing Teen Was Forced into Prostitution”, CBS/WAFB-TV 9, January 31 2011.
- “Human Trafficking in Baton Rouge”, NBC/WVLA-TV 33, April 26 2012.
- “Zachary Man Arrested for Human Trafficking in Recent Prostitution Sting”, Red Stick Now, September 6 2013.
- “Human Trafficking, Prostitution Happening at Upscale Baton Rouge Hotels”, Bayou Buzz, September 9 2013.
- “3 Juveniles Recovered, 16 Pimps, 76 Prostitutes Arrested in Sex Trafficking Operation”, FOX/WXIX-TV 19, June 24 2014.
- “Arrests Made after Woman Claims She Was Kidnapped and Forced into Prostitution in Baton Rouge,” Baton Rouge Advocate, June 3 2015.
- “Zachary Man who Led Prostitution Ring Sentenced to Nine and a Half Years in Federal Prison,” Baton Rouge Advocate, September 28 2015.
- “Jury Convicts Memphis Man for Sex Trafficking of Minors,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, February 25 2016.
- https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/crime_police/article (2021)
- https://www.wbrz.com/man-allegedly-forced-underage-girls-into-prostitution-at-baton-rouge-hotel/ (2021)
- https://www.whio.com/operation-boo-dat-rescues-5-missing-girls-nets-30-sex-offender-arrests/ (2022)
- https://www.wafb.com/deputies-bust-massage-parlor-prostitution-ring-baton-rouge/ (2022)
- https://www.wbrz.com/deputies-bust-baton-rouge-prostitution-ring-five-massage-parlors-across-city/ (2022)
- https://1079ishot.com/baton-rouge-massage-parlor-prostitution-bust-interview-video/ (2022)
- https://www.wbrz.com/news/two-men-arrested-in-east-baton-rouge-child-porn-investigation/ (2022)
- https://tdpelmedia.com/leader-of-sex-trafficking-ring-pleads-guilty (2022)
- “9 Arrests in Prostitution Sting; 1 Leaves Small Children in Car”, FOX/WGMB-TV 44, December 13 2013.
- “Baton Rouge Police Arrest 9 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Red Stick Now, December 13 2013.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Is South Louisiana Becoming Serial Killer Central?”, TruTV, December 12 2006.
- “Prostitute Murder Suspect Served Time for Manslaughter”, ABC/WBRZ-TV 2, October 3 2011.
- “Grand Jury Fails to Indict Man Accused of Murdering Woman,” CBS/WAFB-TV 9, July 17 2015.
- “Baton Rouge Man Convicted in 2011 Strangulation of Woman, Faces Life Sentence,” Baton Rouge Advocate, July 19 2015.
- https://1079ishot.com/teens-attempt-lure-rob-man-baton-rouge-motel/ (2022)