Wilmington is a city of approximately 107,000 residents, located on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. As one of the state’s largest commercial and population centers, the city has dealt with significant problems related to prostitution for decades and more recently, sex trafficking, including commercial sexual exploitation of children. Women involved in selling sex have also been murdered in the city.
In response, the Wilmington Police Department adopted the use of street-level reverse stings in 1981. The operations, which typically use one or more undercover female officers as decoys, are now conducted on a routine basis to identify and apprehend sex buyers. In their efforts, Wilmington police frequently collaborate with officers from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, particularly on investigations into suspected sex trafficking. Additionally, the city and county have offered a diversion program (or “john school”) to select arrestees since 2004.
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “City’s Police Have Been Busy”, Wilmington Star-News, October 28 1981.
- “Clarkton Man Charged in Prostitution Cases”, The Bladen Journal, October 29 1981.
- “WPD Arrests Six in Prostitution Bust”, ABC/WWAY-TV, October 5 2007.
- “11 Charged in Prostitution Crackdown”, Wilmington Star-News, December 13 2012.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Captured: Human Trafficking in the Port City”, ABC/WWAY-TV 3, May 23 2012.
- “Wilmington High Schooler Charged in Sex Ring”, NBC/WECT-TV 6, October 5 2012.
- “Goolsby, Hamilton Team Up to Battle Sex Trafficking”, Wilmington Star-News, December 10 2012.
- “Special Report: Wilmington Human Trafficking Survivor”, NBC/WECT-TV 6, August 26 2013.
- “Man Jailed on Human Trafficking Charges”, Wilmington Star-News, December 20 2013.
- “Human Trafficking Sends Wilmington Man to Prison for 20 Years,” Wilmington Star News, November 4 2015.
- “NC Teen Arrested for Promoting Prostitution of a Minor,” NBC/WNCN-TV 17, December 27 2015.
- “Wilmington Man Arrested in Prostitution Investigation,” Wilmington Star News, January 11 2016.
- https://portcitydaily.com/local-news/2018/12/06/part-four-a-look-at-johns-the-men-whose-demand-drives-our-sex-trafficking-problem/ (2018)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “John Boyer, Trucker, Killed 3 Prostitutes Across South: Police”, Huffington Post, September 18 2011.
- “Long-Haul Trucker Who Lived with His Mother Is a ‘Serial Killer Who Has Murdered Prostitutes Across U.S.”, Daily Mail (U.K.), September 19 2011.
- “Trucker Who Confessed to Bolivia Woman’s Murder Linked to Several Others”, Wilmington Star-News, September 19 2011.
- “Police Put Focus on Suspected Serial Killer in 2000 Disappearance”, Wilmington Star-News, August 16 2012.