Bradenton, FL

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Bradenton is a city of approximately 51,000 residents, situated near Sarasota in Manatee County, Florida.  Many cases of prostitution and sex trafficking (including commercial sexual exploitation) have occurred in the city, and associated problems have included the rape and murder of prostituted women, child endangerment, drug offenses, and many serious crimes.  The Bradenton Police Department has targeted the underlying demand driving local commercial sex markets since the early 1980s; as the area’s prostitution activities often cross multiple jurisdictions, the BPD frequently collaborates with the Sarasota Police Department to conduct street-level reverse stings, particularly along Tamiami Trail, a major roadway that spans both cities.

During these operations focusing on apprehending sex buyers, undercover female officers pose as prostituted women and walk or stand in areas known for prostitution, where they are then closely monitored by a backup team. As individuals (almost always men) approach the undercover officer and solicit sex, they are quickly apprehended. Once arrested, sex buyers may have their names, arrest photos, and other identifying information released to the public. Bradenton police may also seize solicitors’ vehicles and impose large fines for their retrieval.

In November 2013, three sex buyers were arrested in an undercover reverse sting.  Officers from the BPD’s Casual Clothes and Narcotics Unit carried out the operation, during which officers also seized one vehicle using the city’s anti-prostitution ordinance.  The three men were charged with misdemeanor counts of solicitation of prostitution. A fourth man was arrested on a warrant charging him with felony theft.  In March 2014, BPD officers conducted a similar street-level reversal that resulted in the arrests of eight men whose identities and mugshots were publicized in local news outlets.  Three vehicles were seized in the operation.  In April 2018, five sex buyers were arrested in a revers sting.

A man arrested during a reverse sting by the Bradenton Police Department in July, 2017, on the 2500 block of 14th St. West, was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months of probation, and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. Conditions of probation imposed by the Manatee County court included undergoing STD screening and completing a restorative justice class.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Auto Seizure:

Community Service, John School:

Neighborhood Action:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 57346
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