Golden Gate, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Golden Gate is a community and census-designated place in Collier County, Florida, with a population of about 24,000.  It is located near Naples and Bonita Springs in the southeastern part of the state.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Collier County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results 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.

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 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 worked with other suspects to transport people across interstate boundaries to engage in prostitution; among the locations involved was a brothel at 17th Avenue Southwest in Golden Gate, and that there were others in the area. 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. 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 rescued 11 women who were being used as sex slaves. The 44 administrative arrests were charged across the four states – mostly men, who were caught paying for sex with the victims.

 

 

 

Key Partners

  • ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • Collier County Sheriff’s Office
  • Naples Police Department

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 24000
Location
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