Boca Raton, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Boca Raton is a city of approximately 85,000 residents, located in southeast Florida’s Palm Beach County. Prostitution and sex trafficking (particularly indoor prostitution and prostitution rings, rather than street prostitution) are longstanding problems in the city, and have generated complaints from the community.  A recent prostitution investigation included a case of human trafficking.

The Boca Raton Police Department has conducted street level and media-based reverse stings since at least 1990. That year, a john was arrested after placing a newspaper advertisement for a masseuse. A female Boca Raton officer answered the advertisement after the BRPD received complaints that the man wanted sex. The prospective sex buyer was arrested after an interview in his home with the officer in which he offered her $30 an hour for sex. He pled guilty and was given a fine, and ordered to perform community service.

Following sting investigations, the names, ages, and hometowns of arrested sex buyers are released by the BRPD and sometimes reported in the media.

A handful of county-level ordinances have also been used to determine sentences of johns arrested in Boca Raton. In the early to mid-1990s, for example, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that a Palm Beach County Circuit Judge had begun offering first-time offenders charged with solicitation in Boca Raton the option of completing a diversion program in lieu of jail time. The program, instituted in February 1990, was composed of a two-hour class (dubbed Risk Education for Sex Offenders), a HIV blood test, mandatory attendance at four court hearings for prostituted women, and “reading a psychological profile of a prostitute who was diagnosed with AIDS.” For additional information about county-level efforts to reduce demand, see Palm Beach County.

Key Partners

  • Boca Raton Police Department

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 83381
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