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Boca Raton is a city of approximately 100,000 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. Recent prostitution investigations have included cases of human 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. The Boca Raton Police Department has conducted street level and media-based reverse stings since at least 1990. That year, a male sex buyer 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 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 sex buyers 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.
- Boca Raton Police Department
- “Hookers, Clients Take Class to Avoid Jail,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, April 1 1991.
- “Prostitution Prevention Program Hooks Johns,” Palm Beach Post, October 18 2000.
- “Sheriff’s Office Lures ‘Johns’ to Class,” Palm Beach Post, July 11 2001.
- “Pay For Sex, Get Lesson Instead,” Tampa Tribune, October 7 2001.
- “Tackling Demand for Prostitution,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, May 5 2003.
- “Delray Institutes Programs Aimed at Prostitution; Offenders to Face Felony Charges,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, October 29 2003.
- “School for ‘Johns’ Tries to Scare Sex Solicitors Straight,” Palm Beach Post, July 23 2006.
- “Class Teaches about Risks of Prostitution,” Palm Beach Post, December 26 2009.
Brothel Busts with Sex Buyer Arrest, Cameras:
- “Coconut Creek Officer Busted in Boca Cops’ Prostitution Sting,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 9 2014.
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “What’s Age Got to Do with It? In Prostitution Sting, Not Much,” Boca Raton News, April 16 2007.
- “Several Busted for Prostitution in Boca Raton,” Boca News Now, February 21 2015.
Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Human Sex Trafficking ‘a Big Problem’ in Palm Beach County,” NBC/WPTV-TV 5, May 13 2013.
- https://bocanewsnow.com/major-arrest-boca-raton-man-charged-with-kidnap-smuggling-more/ (2023)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Man, 80, Robbed while Visiting Prostitute in Boca, Police Say,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 25 2014.
- “Assault, Prostitution Charges Filed against Boca Man,” Boca News Now, February 21 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Term Spa a House of Prostitution,” Boca Raton News, February 4 1986.
- “Boca’s Illicit Sex Is Very Discreet: Not on City Streets,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, January 17 1993.
- “Prostitution Arrest Made in Massage Parlor Investigation,” Boca Raton News, January 8 2000.
- “Parlor Workers Arrested on Prostitution Charges,” Boca Raton News, June 29 2000.
- “Alleged Boca Raton ‘Madam’ Pleads Guilty,” Boca Raton News, September 9 2005.
- “Boca Raton Man Gets a Year in Jail for Prostitution Ring,” Ocala Star-Banner, April 1 2006.
- “Boca ‘Lotion’ Shop Was a Brothel, Police Say,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 21 2006.
- “Police Bust Alleged Brothel in Boca Raton,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, March 14 2009.
- “Woman Gets Probation in Boca Raton Prostitution Ring Case,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, July 27 2013.
- “New York Woman Accused of Running Boca Raton Prostitution Business,” Palm Beach Post, January 7 2014.
- “Boca Raton Spa a Front for Prostitution, Police Say,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 9 2014.
- “Ex-Boca Spa Owner Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Sting, Avoids Lengthy Prison Sentence,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 15 2015.