Broward County, FL

Tactics Used

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

Broward County has a population of 1,700,000 and is located on the southeastern coast of Florida. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been persistent and well-documented problems in the county for decades.  Prostitution-related homicides have also occurred in the county.  Since 1988, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office has conducted many street-level prostitution stings using undercover police officers posing as prostituted women. The details of the operations and arrests are not always shared by law enforcement with the media, but have done so more foten from about 2015 forward. Community complaints help to spur police to conduct prostitution and sex trafficking operations, including reverse stings.

In October 2017, police announced the arrest of eight men rounded up during a “high visibility enforcement operation to combat prostitution activities in the City of Fort Lauderdale.  Police say the targeted areas including the Sistrunk Corridor, Andrews Avenue, Flagler Village, Victoria Park and Holiday Park.  The men’s identities were publicly disclosed.  In a 2014 operation, a man was arrested and held on $8,500 bond after being charged with attempting to procure a minor for prostitution in a Fort Lauderdale Police sting.  A member of the police department’s human trafficking unit contacted the 62-year-old suspect and posed as a 16-year-old named “Maria” who had been exploited for commercial sex. She exchanged several calls and texts with the man, who asked her for pictures of her body and she sent them along with pictures of another detective posing as a 15-year-old named “Kate,” according to police. A third undercover agent posed as a “John” who was looking to have sex with the girls, so the suspect arranged for a meeting.

A South Florida police chief was fired after being arrested at a motel during a sting operation conducted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, for allegedly trying to arrange a threesome with an undercover officer.  Detectives mounted the sting operation by placing an online escort ad that offered a “two-girl special,” in addition to price rates and a telephone number.  The suspect first spoke by phone with the undercover officer who told him a 30-minute session would cost $60, but he struck a deal for two women for $100. He then showed up at the motel and was arrested after giving her $100.

Punishments that may be imposed upon those convicted of buying prostitution services in Broward County include sentences of up to 60 days’ in jail, over six months’ probationary supervision, and fines reaching $500. Multiple offenses can bring longer terms of up to five years’ incarceration, five years of probation, and fines of up to $5,000. Those found guilty of purchasing sex from a prostituted person will be subject different set of sanctions in addition to typical financial penalties, jail time and probation, including substantial community service requirements, mandatory testing for sexually transmitted diseases as provided by Fla. Stat. § 796.08, civil fines, and compulsory attendance at a human trafficking, sexual violence and/or prostitution awareness program. Third-time and subsequent offenders are classified as Second Degree Felons and as such can receive sentences of up to 15 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.

Key Partners

  • Broward County Sheriff’s Office
  • Broward County Circuit Court
  • Fort Lauderdale Police Department
  • Pompano Beach Police Department
  • Hollywood Police Department

Key Sources

 

State Florida
Type County
Population 1751234
Location
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