Dania Beach is a city of approximately 30,000 residents, located near Hollywood in Broward County, Florida. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the city and surrounding areas.
Reverse stings have been conducted by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in the city since at least 1986. In 2000, Operation START (Sheriff’s Targeted Anti-Crime Response Team) worked to combat prostitution and drugs, arresting about 650 people on various charges (including buying sex) in Dania Beach alone.
From 1999 to 2004, city law enforcement reserved the right to seize the vehicles of those arrested for prostitution and drug-related crimes. During this time, the city established anti-prostitution zones where repeat offenders could be arrested for being in the targeted area. The auto seizure law has since been overruled by county courts; it is unclear if the city’s exclusions zones remain in place.
In late February 2015, media outlets reported the arrest of at least one john during a web-based reverse sting. Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the john at a Dania Beach hotel room after the man responded to an online advertisement for prostitution posted by law enforcement. The man, a police chief in nearby Miami Gardens, had his name publicized in several media outlets. It is unclear if other sex buyers were picked up during the sting.
The Florida State Legislature passed a bill that was signed into law in June, 2019, that creates a registry of convicted sex buyers and provides a publicly-accessible listing of their identities. The registry data includes the names, addresses and photos of people found guilty of soliciting sex from a prostituted person. The database is part of a broader piece of legislation aimed at combating human trafficking by lowering demand for commercial sex. If fully implemented, all communities in Florida would be included as using shaming as a tactic applied to arrested sex buyers.
- Broward County Sheriff’s Office
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “10 Arrested for Soliciting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, September 13 1986.
- “Officer Cleared of Prostitution Soliciting Charge”, Miami Herald, November 24 1988.
- “20 Arrested in Sting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, July 16 1989.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 12”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, August 13 1989.
- “15 Charged with Soliciting for Prostitution in Sting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, March 4 1990.
- “17 Men Arrested in Sting”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, September 8 1991.
- “Newsmakers”, Hamilton Spectator, September 28 1995.
- “New Crackdown on Broward Prostitution”, Miami Herald, August 29 1997.
- “Crime Dips on the Strip; More Prostitution-Related Arrests Reported in Dania, Hollywood”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, November 14 1997.
- “Johns Caught in Police Sting”, Miami Herald, December 21 1997.
- “37 Arrested for Soliciting Hookers During Roundup in Hollywood”, Miami Herald, April 26 1998.
- “15 Arrested in Prostitution Sweep”, Miami Herald, July 25 1998.
- “Cities Work to Clean Up U.S. 1; More Joint Stings, Shame, Used to Fight Rampant Prostitution”, Miami Herald, June 20 1999.
- “Dania Gets Tough on Drugs, Prostitution”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, December 22 2001.
- “Putting Heat on the Hookers”, Miami Herald, November 17 2002.
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-dolphins/fl-sp-dolphins-travis-minor-lawsuit (2018)
- https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/ (2018)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Miami Gardens Police Chief Fired after Arrest in Prostitution Sting,” Miami Herald, February 27 2015.
- “Police Chief Apologizes after Being Arrested in Dania Prostitution Sting,” Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, February 28 2015.
- “Ex-Miami Gardens Police Chief Sentenced in Prostitution Sting,” Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, December 23 2015.
- New Florida Law Establishes Publicly-Accessible List of Convicted Sex Buyers (2019)
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-ne-florida-sex-offender-registry (2019)
- https://www.npr.org/podcasts/485103472/w-f-s-u-state-news-florida (2019)
Auto Seizure (Discontinued):
- “Dania Prostitution Solicitors Face Confiscation of Vehicles”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, March 20 1999.
- “3 Dania Ordinances Target Crimes, Nuisances”, Miami Herald, September 29 1999.
- “Dania Targets Drugs, Hookers; City Manager Asks for Funds from Car Impoundments”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, April 19 2002.
- “Impounding of Arrestees’ Cars Challenged”, Miami Herald, March 24 2004.
- “State High Court Could Decide If Cities Can Seize Cars in Prostitution Cases”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, May 13 2004.
- “Cutting Down on Prostitution”, Miami Herald, September 1 2000.
- “Three Towns Want Prostitution Barrier Mapping Project, Would Focus on Repeat Offenders”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, September 5 2000.
- Moser, Sandra L. (2004). “Anti-Prostitution Zones; Justifications for Abolition”, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (91) 4.
Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Broward Judge Sets $30,000 Bond for Man Charged with Human Trafficking”, NBC/WTVJ-TV 6, June 28 2013.
- “Man Beat Homeless Woman, Forced Her into Prostitution, Authorities Say”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, June 28 2013
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Suspended Dania Chiropractor Investigated in Prostitution Probe”, Miami Herald, April 11 1991.
- “Chiropractor Faces Prostitution Charges”, Miami Herald, July 25 1992.
- “Adult Firm in Dania in Trouble Again; Undercover Deputy Arrests Employee on Charge of Prostitution”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, January 16 1993.
- “Adult Businesses in Dania Under Fire”, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, March 7 1993.
- “BSO: 11 Arrested Women Ran Prostitution Operations”, Miami Herald, June 27 1996.
- “Hollywood, BSO Unite to Stop Prostituion on U.S. 1”, Miami Herald, June 12 1997.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: