Polk County Human Trafficking Sting Nets 100+ Arrests

A Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover human trafficking sting resulted in 103 arrests, according to reports.

According to the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the weeklong sting focused on both prostitutes posting online advertisements as well as “johns” seeking female prostitutes online.

From Nov. 27 through Sunday, 103 suspects were taken into custody, with 56 of those advertising as prostitutes online.

Thirty of the arrests were those who solicited undercover detectives who posted ads posing as prostitutes. Eleven other arrests were made of those who derive proceeds from prostitution and six were taken into custody for drug charges and other offenses.

One of those arrested was a doctor from Orlando. The doctor allegedly offered to pay an undercover detective $100 for sex and was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.

Charges for those arrested include soliciting another for prostitution, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution, transporting to building for prostitution and using a communication device to commit a felony.

Detectives worked closely with One More Child and the Department of Children and Families during the operation.

During the operation, undercover detectives posted fictitious ads or profiles on various social media platforms, websites, and mobile phone applications, posing as prostitutes or those soliciting prostitutes.

Some of the detectives responded to profiles and online ads posted by prostitutes. Despite the repeated warnings and media coverage of past operations, several suspects responded to the ads and drove to the undisclosed undercover location.

Cases involving sex or human trafficking get lots of media attention, which means there is added pressure on police and prosecutors to punish the alleged perpetrators quickly and severely. Sex trafficking is a specific subset of the crime of human trafficking, which involves depriving an individual of their freedom in order to obtain forced labor or services. In the case of sex trafficking, the services would be prostitution, child pornography, etc.

In a pimp/prostitute situation involving adults, it can qualify as sex trafficking if there is substantial restriction of personal liberties, which can be achieved through force, fear, fraud, coercion, violence, or threats.

If you have been accused of sex trafficking, the best way to protect yourself and avoid any undeserved penalties is to retain a human trafficking attorney right away. At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Human Trafficking Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys know the law and we know exactly how to protect your rights. During questioning, we can help you exercise your 5th Amendment rights, and prevent illegally obtained evidence from being used against you. As former prosecutors, we know the tricks used in pursuing a conviction, and we can pursue your defense just as aggressively as the State.  

For a free consultation, call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online.