Escambia 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

Escambia County is a county of approximately 322,000 residents, situated along the westernmost border of Florida. It contains the city of Pensacola.  Prostitution and sex trafficking are substantial problems  within the county, with activity frequently concentrated in and around the unincorporated community of Brownsville.  Among the most serious problems connected to the local commercial sex market have been the activity of at least one serial murder who specifically targeted prostituted women in and around Pensacola, and other cases of rape, assault, and homicide of prostituted persons.

For years, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office has taken an aggressive approach to minimizing prostitution, and contends that it is not a victimless crime. In early 2009, ESCO Sheriff David Morgan spent three months developing and drafting a “Dear John” letter to be sent to the owners of vehicles involved in prostitution arrests.  The letter notified the owner that their car was involved in a prostitution-related crime, and that if it continues to be used in such a manner it may be seized by the state.  The letter also notified the recipient of the risk of sexually transmitted infections that are associated with such crimes, and prompted he or she to be screened for disease.

The ESCO also conducts routine reverse sting operations and distributes the names and photos of arrestees to the local media.  For example, a four-part operation conducted in late December 2013 and early January 2014 targeted both street-level and web-based prostitution, as well as both supply and demand.  One street-level and one web-based sting targeted the providers of commercial sex.

ESCO officers also routinely conduct demand-specific details. For example, the ESCO conducted a street-level reversal in December 2013 that netted 15 male sex buyers, and a web-based reversal in August 2014 that intercepted nine sex buyers. Although the staging locations of the operations were not disclosed, all arrestees’ names and mugshots were released to the public.

Key Partners

  • Escambia County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:


Community Service:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State Florida
Type County
Population 322390
Comments are closed.