Brevard County on the east coast of Florida, and has a population of nearly 600,000. The county seat is Titusvile, and other population centers within the county include the cities of Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Cocoa. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has been collaborating with city police departments since at least the 1980s to address the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, in Melbourne police have conducted reverse stings and began releasing the names of those arrested for solicitation of prostitution in 1986. Joint sting and reverse stings are still conducted on a periodic basis, driven in part by community complaints to police about prostitution. An operation in Melbourne in December 2012, for example, resulted in the arrest of one prostituted woman and three johns. Following their arrest, their identities were publicized in local media outlets.
In Cocoa, police have conducted several street-level reverse stings since 1991 using undercover women officers posing as prostituted persons in order to capture johns. The men arrested have had their names, ages, and hometowns reported in the media. For example, in March 2017, undercover police officers playing the role of both providers and clients seeking commercial sex. The sting/reverse sting was part of a joint undercover operation involving Cocoa and Melbourne police and was focused in and around the area of Peachtree Street in Cocoa. The operation was one of many stings and investigations taking place on the Space Coast over the prior year as agencies focus on various methods of diminishing the sex trade in Brevard County, from online ads to street solicitation of prostitution and sex trafficking. In February of 2019, an undercover operation was conducted in Brevard County after few citizen complaints regarding prostitution and other illegal activity in the area of Peachtree St. and Blake Avenue. After verbal agreements were established, police moved in on the suspects to make the arrests. Following their arrest, their identities were publicized in local media outlets.
Under Floriday law, every person convicted of Solicitation of Prostitution must complete 100 hours of community service, attend a prostitution and human trafficking awareness course (i.e., “john school”, undergo screening for sexually transmissible diseases, and pay a $5,000 civil fine. In addition to those mandatory penalties for those with a conviction for Solicitation of Prostitution, a judge can also impose additional penalties based upon whether a person is a first time offender or a repeat offender, including jail, probation, vehicle impoundment, and increased fines.
- Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
- Cocoa Police Department
- Melbourne Police Department
- Titusville Police Department
- Orlando Sentinel, September 8, 1991. Cocoa police arrest 10 in prostitution crackdown.
- https://www.orlandoweekly.com/orlando/cops-in-cocoa-stamp-out-sin (2002)
- Floridatoday.com, January 3, 2008. Two men arrested in prostitution sting.
- Floridatoday.com, March 17, 2009. Four men arrested in prostitution operation in cocoa.
- https://www.baynews9.com/fl/melbourne_prostitution arrests (2012)
- http://spacecoastdaily.com/2013/07/brevard-sheriff-busts-locals-in-sex-solicitation-sting/ (2013)
- https://www.wesh.com/article/prostitution-investigation-leads-to-Brevard-County-deputy-firings/3880425 (2015)
- https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/deputies-fired-exposed-prostitute-clients-article-1.2358891 (2015)
- https://www.floridatoday.com/undercover-prostitution-related-arrests-carried-out-cocoa (2017)
- http://endslaverybrevard.org/2017/12/03/human-trafficking-sting-nets-brevard-county-men/ (2017)
- http://spacecoastdaily.com/four-suspects-taken-down-in-cocoa-undercover-operation-targeting-prostitution/ (2019)
- https://www.floridatoday.com/four-cocoa-arrested-solicitation-prostitution (2019)
- http://spacecoastdaily.com/2019/01/undercover-operation-leads-to-six-men-arrested-in-cocoa-for-solicitation-of-prostitution/ (2019)