Hernando 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

Hernando County is located in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area of Florida and has a population of approximately 194,500 residents. Its county seat is the city of Brooksville. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the communities 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 are child sex trafficking and violence committed against prostituted and trafficked people.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and other collaborating agencies have conducted reverse stings. Police may also seize the vehicles of arrested sex buyers, and the names, ages, and other details about the sex buyers may be released to the media. For example, 32 men were arrested during a five-day sting in 2008 dubbed “Operation Working Woman” by the Brooksville Police Department. Officers targeted two areas, the intersection of Jefferson Street and Ponce De Leon Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in south Brooksville. The arrested men were from all over the North Suncoast, from places as far away as Inverness, New Port Richey, Homosassa, and Spring Hill. The men were from all income levels and occupations, ranging in age from 20 to 78. Each of the men arrested approached an undercover female officer and offered money in exchange for various sex acts. The men were each charged with a single count of solicitation for prostitution, a misdemeanor. Prostitution-related homicides and numerous complaints about criminal activity from nearby residents were cited as the reasons for police conducting the crackdown.

In November 2016, a former Hernando County Commissioner pleaded no contest to prostitution charges, ending his case with judgment withheld and requiring him to pay court costs of $729. The man had been arrested and charged with three misdemeanors, including two counts of purchasing services from a prostitute and one charge of operating a business engaged in prostitution.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure, Cameras:

Identity Disclosure Arrested Sex Buyers:

Auto Seizure:

Background on Local Prostitution:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

  • “Man Faces Charges of Lewd Acts,” St. Petersburg Times, October 24 1991.
  • “Motel Owner in Hernando County Jail on Sex Charges Involving Teen-ager,” St. Petersburg Times, October 24 1991.
  • “Innkeeper Charged in Tryst with Teenager,” Tampa Tribune, October 26 1991.
  • “Woman Charged in Teen Sex Plot,” St. Petersburg Times, October 26 1991.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Body Is Identified as a Tampa Woman,” St. Petersburg Times, March 27 1987.
State Florida
Type County
Population 194515
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