Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. It is also the state’s second largest city, with a population of nearly 230,000. Problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking in the city include the targeted murder of sex sellers. Between 1996 and 2004, at least 11 women involved in prostitution were found murdered in a tightly confined area surrounding North Street Park in Baton Rouge. More recently, a female sex seller was strangled to death with shoelaces; the accused murderer had previously been convicted of killing a woman in another city using similar tactics.
Additional problems reported include johns temporarily abandoning young children in order to buy sex. For example, in a December 2013 case, police booked an arrested sex buyer for an additional charge of child desertion for leaving a 1-year-old and 2-year-old alone in a car while meeting with the undercover officer to buy sex in a hotel room.
The combat prostitution, the Baton Rouge Police Department has been conducting reverse sting operations occasionally since 1985. In 2007, officers incorporated the use of web stings as a response to much of the city’s sex business being taken “inside” and off the streets. A web-based reversal in December 2013, for example, netted nine johns, all of whose identities were publicized. Since at least 1985, city law enforcement have also reserved the right to seize vehicles used for the purposes of solicitation.
Since Hurricane Katrina, there has been a reported spike in human trafficking in the Baton Rouge area. In the months following the hurricane, Baton Rouge Police reported a significant increase in international labor trafficking and adult and child sex trafficking. The city is currently listed among the top ten most highly trafficked U.S. cities by the Department of Justice. In an effort to combat the problem, police and other city officials have been working towards stricter prostitution laws to disrupt and dismantle local trafficking operations, identify and recover victims of trafficking, and deter city residents from engaging in the sale or purchase of commercial sex as a whole.
- Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Prostitution Raid Nets 38 Arrests”, Baton Rouge Advocate, January 26 1986.
- “Undercover Police Book 43 in Vice Crackdown”, Baton Rouge Advocate, May 31 1986.
- “Police Net 43 in Prostitution Sweep”, Baton Rouge Advocate, January 29 1988.
- “City Vice Crackdown Leads to 45 Arrests”, Baton Rouge Advocate, July 30 1988.
- “38 Arrested in Area Prostitution Probe”, Baton Rouge Advocate, October 18 1995.
- “10-Day Sting Nets 50 Arrests in Anti-Prostitution Campaign”, Baton Rouge Advocate, September 11 2003.
- “16 Arrested in BR Prostitution Sting”, ABC/WBRZ-TV 2, December 3 2010.
- “Police Clean Streets of Prostitution”, CBS/WAFB-TV 9, December 29 2010.
- “Police Arrest 16 During Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WAFB-TV 9, March 18 2011.
- “Baton Rouge Prostitution Sting Nets Arrests of 14,” The New Orleans Time, September 23, 2014.
- “Male Booked for Solicitation of Prostitution on Sorority Row,” The Daily Reveille, September 30, 2014.
- Web-Based Stings and Shaming:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation 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.
- Child Endangerment:
- “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.