Charlotte County, 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

Charlotte County is a county of roughly 187,000 residents, located south of Sarasota on Florida’s western coast. It contains the communities of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, among others. Commercial sex activity, often arranged online, has been reported in the county for years – particularly in storefront brothels such as massage businesses and nail salons.  Minors have also been solicited for acts of paid sexual abuse by local adult residents.

In their efforts to curtail prostitution, local law enforcement has utilized some demand-reduction tactics. For example, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office conducted a small-scale, ad hoc reverse sting in 2007 after a female deputy working in an undercover capacity during an “anti-drug and anti-prostitution detail” at a county motel was approached by a man who thought she was a woman offering acts of prostitution. When the suspect solicited the officer for commercial sex, he was arrested by law enforcement. His name and other identifying information ran in local news reports following the sting.

In June 2015, CCSO deputies again targeted the county’s commercial sex market, conducting a sting operation.The logistical details of the operation were not disclosed to the public. Three sexually exploited persons and three sex buyers were arrested as a result of the operation; following their arrests, the CCSO assembled and released a large poster with all of the arrestees’ names, charges, and mugshots. Several local press outlets carried the screenshot of the poster.

Web-based reverse stings have occurred within the county. For example, in October 2016, eight men were arrested and charged after being caught in a prostitution sting conducted by Punta Gorda Police Department and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at a Punta Gorda hotel. Law enforcement set up a dummy account on and offered services; the men were arrested when they responded to the ad and negotiated to pay $50 for oral sex, and arrived at the arranged location to complete the transaction.  One of the arrested sex buyers had a volunteer coaching position with North Port Youth Soccer and subsequently resigned from his position and any other affiliation with the league.

Key Partners

  • Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office
    • Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit and Street Crimes Unit
  • North Port Youth Soccer

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

  • “Charlotte Police Beat; Motel Guest Snagged in Prostitution Sting,” Charlotte Sun, January 22 2007.

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Anti-Prostitution Investigations Leading to Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

  • “Police Beat; Alleged Poolside Proposition Brings Arrest,” Charlotte Sun, September 30 2002.
  • “Man Accused of Molesting Girl,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 1 2002.

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type County
Population 186847
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