York County is located in the north-central section of South Carolina, and has a population of roughly 265,000. 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 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.
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 and 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.
- York County Sheriff’s Department
- South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.charlotteobserver.com/article223098670.html (2018)
- https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/crime/indian-land-fire-chief-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2018)
- http://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/local-news/indian-land-fire-chief-charged-in-york-county-prostitution-bust (2018)
- https://www.heraldonline.com/latest-news/article223098670.html (2018)
- http://foxcharleston.com/s-c-fire-chief-suspended-after-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.islandpacket.com/news/state/south-carolina/article33634302.html (2015)
- https://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/17-arrested-in-york-county-prostitution-sting/649925315 (2017)