|IT Based Tactics||✓|
East Palatka is a census-designated place of less than 2,000 residents, located in northeastern Florida’s Putnam County. Law enforcement and local residents have noted problems with street prostitution in the city for decades years; individuals attempting to purchase sex in the city have also reported being robbed. Sex trafficking has also been well documented locally.
In April 2014, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office conducted a two-week anti-prostitution and anti-drug investigation that led to the arrest of 12 male sex buyers. The men were arrested after approaching an undercover female deputy along the Highway 17 South Corridor and making an offer of cash for sexual services. All arrestees’ names, ages, and mugshots were released to the public.
In April, 2022, a street-level reverse stings occurred in which undercover officers walked up and down sidewalks at various locations in Palatka and East Palatka. The undercover officers would notify deputies if there were any solicitors and then “direct the solicitors to a pre-determined location where a takedown team would then be utilized to take the suspect into custody,” according to the arrest report. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in the press release and news reports.
- Putnam County Sheriff’s Office
- Street Crimes Unit
- Drug/Vice Unit
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Street Crimes/Drug Vice Units Record Sixteen Arrests”, Press Release, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, April 21 2014.
- “16 Arrested on Prostitution, Drug Charges”, WJXT-TV 4, April 22 2014.
- “Deputies Arrest 16 in Prostitution, Anti-Drug Operation”, CBS/WTEV-TV 47, April 22 2014.
- “Prostitution and Drug Sting, 16 Arrests”, NBC/WTLV-TV 12, April 22 2014.
- https://www.actionnewsjax.com/4-men-arrested-prostitution-sting-putnam-county/ (2022)
Prostitution and Human Trafficking in the City: