Collier 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

Collier County is located in southwest Florida and has a population of roughly 376,000. Its county seat is East Naples, and also contains the cities of Naples and Golden Gate. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been well-documented in the cities and unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 13 criminal arrests, 44 administrative arrests, and rescued 11 victims in a sex trafficking ring operating in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The investigation, called Operation Dark Night, was led by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The ringleader of the sex trafficking operation worked with other suspects to transport victims across interstate boundaries to engage in prostitution; among the locations involved was a brothel at 17th Avenue Southwest in Golden Gate and other areas of the county. The defendant allegedly conspired with at least three others to entice women from Mexico, Nicaragua, and elsewhere to travel to the United States with false promises of legal employment. Once inside the United States, the women were allegedly threatened and forced to commit acts of prostitution at numerous locations throughout the Southeastern U.S., including Collier County. In one instance identified in the indictment, the man told a Mexican woman that she would be sent back to her home country unless she serviced 25 clients a day. Authorities recovered 11 women who were being used as sex slaves. The 44 arrests were charged across the four states, and most were men caught paying for sex with the victims. Collier County has also had documented cases of assault and battery committed against prostituted women.

To combat the consumer-level demand driving both prostitution and sex trafficking, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office has conducted reverse stings in Golden Gate and Naples and in incorporated areas of the county. For example, in July 1999, female CCSO deputies went undercover as prostituted women. Four sex buyers were arrested, and each had their name and other identifying information publicized by the local media. In October 2013 and February 2018, the CCSO teamed with officers from the Naples Police Department to conduct additional reverse stings, both online and street-level. In January 2018, a Circuit Court Judge was arrested in a prostitution sting in Naples and later agreed to a deferred prosecution program, where charges would be dropped if he met the following conditions:

  • six months of supervision with early termination when all conditions are met
  • pay a $1,000 fine, with half going  to the drug court program and the other half to a DCF trust fund
  • pay $50 for the cost of prosecution, attend an AIDS workshop/STD screening
  • complete the ‘More to Life Restorative Justice Program’ about the negative effects of prostitution/human trafficking

The last condition was essentially a “john school” program. The Restorative Justice End Demand Education (RJEDE) is an 8-hour course on human trafficking and prostitution prevention created by Dr. Brook Bello’s Youthiasm, and licensed by More Too Life that offers a comprehensive education to court-appointed sexual offenders or buyers, referred men at risk of committing sexual violence and volunteer participants. The educational model is designed to teach sex buyers about the vital role they have in “ending demand, prostitution, protecting children and young women, and help bring healing and transformation to the victims and themselves.” The program includes a history of prostitution, human trafficking and its root causes, healthy relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and “the vices and issues men in the 21st-century face.”

Key Partners

  • Collier County Sheriff’s Office
  • ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • Naples Police Department
  • Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking
  • More To Life, Restorative Justice End Demand Education (RJEDE) Program

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

John School:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State Florida
Type County
Population 375752
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