York County, SC

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

York County is located in the north-central section of South Carolina, and has a population of roughly 274,000. Its county seat is York, South Carolina, and its largest city is Rock Hill. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in communities and unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result 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.

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. In 2018, four sex buyers were arrested during a web-based reverse sting using a hotel on Carowinds Boulevard in in York County. Several agencies collaborated, including the York County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The operation began in response to complaints about prostitution along Carowinds Boulevard. Police used websites that cater to illegal sex activity as part of the investigation; men who responded and arranged to buy sex, then appeared at the agreed location, were arrested. All the arrests were made at a motel near the North Carolina state line, close to Exit 90 off Interstate 77. Law enforcement said the local hotel cooperated by providing space for the operation. The identities of the arrested people were publicly disclosed.

In April 2021, the York County Sheriff’s Office arrested 10 suspected child predators in a multi-day web sting called “Operation Home Alone.” They received assistance in the investigation from 13 other law enforcement agencies, including the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, South Carolina Attorney Generals’ Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations, US Secret Service, York Police Department, Rock Hill Police Department, Fort Mill Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston Police Department, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office. The men were arrested after attempting to arrange sex with undercover officers whom they believed were minors between the ages of 10-17. The names, ages, hometowns, arrest photos, and occupations of the men were released to the press, along with what they were charged with. Not all of the instances involved the exchange of money for sex, but at least six of the men were charged with sexual exploitation of a minor or promoting the prostitution of a minor.

Key Partners

  • York County Sheriff’s Office
  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • South Carolina Attorney Generals’ Office
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Homeland Security Investigations, US Secret Service
  • York Police Department
  • Rock Hill Police Department
  • Fort Mill Police Department
  • Mount Pleasant Police Department
  • Charleston Police Department
  • Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office
  • Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office
State South Carolina
Type County
Population 273887
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