Belle Isle, FL
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Belle Isle is a city in Central Florida, located just 15 minutes south of Orlando, FL in Orange County. It has a population of approximately 7,000 residents and is a part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and sex trafficking have demonstrated to be significant issues within Orange County, particularly within Orlando and its neighboring communities. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Orange Blossom Trail and Colonial Drive have historically been areas plagued with increased rates of prostitution and ancillary criminal activity. However, due to citizen complaints and increased number of prostitution-related arrests within the areas in the late 1990’s, the Orlando Police Department declared the two areas “prostitution-free zones” in 1999. The new ordinance added additional penalties for anyone found returning to the area for purposes of prostitution. Business owners believed that the ordinance would help reduce prostitution and ancillary crimes in the area by reducing the demand for commercial sex in the area. According to reports, the OPD arrested an average of 1,300 individuals on prostitution-related charges annually from 1994 to 1999. Within a few years of the implementation of the “prostitution-free zones,” residents in Belle Isle began to report an increase in prostitution-related activity occurring within the city. Residents believed that the new restrictions had pushed prostitution and ancillary crimes into Belle Isle and its surrounding communities, especially within Pine Castle, an unincorporated area located along Orange Blossom Trail between Orlando and Belle Isle. Citizen complaints prompted a meeting with Belle Isle, Edgewood, and Orange County officials, in addition to the creation of a community forum where community members were able to express their concerns regarding the growing prostitution problem. In 2010, the City of Belle Isle annexed 21 parcels of Pine Castle, as a result of complaints from businesses and residents living in areas experiencing an increase in prostitution and prostitution-related crimes. Residents, business owners, and city officials hoped that the increased police presence in the newly annexed areas would help reduce instances of prostitution. Commissioner Linda Pisano emphasized the need for an increase in police patrol in the area, “We absolutely need police patrol. The crime and prostitution are really picking up in this area.”
Identity disclosure and loss of employment are consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in September of 2019, a teacher was fired by a Florida charter school in Orange County in response to his prior admission to using school computers to view pornography and hire prostituted women, which had led to his termination in 2012 from a school in Seminole County, FL. The prior events had not been uncovered in the school’s background check when he was hired. When the prior allegations and termination were uncovered in 2019 by students doing Google searches, the teacher was fired from his seventh grade teaching position at Cornerstone Charter Academy in Belle Isle. Due to the students’ Google searches, administrators discovered that the teacher had failed to disclose “pertinent information” on his employment application, which became the basis for his termination in September of 2019. The offender’s identity was released in reports from local news sources.
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Allegations:
- Seminole teacher accused of using school computer to meet prostitutes (2012)
- Teacher used school computer to meet prostitutes (2012)
- Cornerstone charter teacher fired for prior prostitution allegations in Seminole County (2019)
- Another day another charter scandal (2019)
- Students bust their teacher for prior prostitution scandal (2019)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
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