Jacksonville, 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

Jacksonville is a city of approximately 950,000 million residents, located in northeast Florida. It is the state’s most populous city, and includes the semi-autonomous communities of Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Baldwin. Prostitution and commercial sex trafficking have been identified as substantial problems in the city for decades, and have been linked to related crimes included targeted assaults and homicides of both those sold for sex and their buyers. City law enforcement also conduct frequent surveillance checks of websites known for prostitution activity. As a result, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers have at times uncovered intricate sex trafficking networks operating out of Jacksonville. In one such operation in 2009, JSO officers and FBI agents apprehended a man operating a child sex trafficking ring after they saw postings advertising sexual services on Craigslist.

Child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to as “child pornography” in legal codes) have also been involved in local prostitution and trafficking cases. For example, in February 2018, a man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for using underage “models” to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing pornographic images and videos. According to court documents, law enforcement officers began a human trafficking investigation involving the “prostitution of minor and adult females” throughout Florida by an individual who had recruited his victims to travel and work at “parties” and “VIP rooms” as “models,” where men paid to have sex with them. The man was arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors and distribution of “child pornography.”  Two weeks later, a federal search warrant was executed at a second man’s residence. During an interview, he admitted that he had hired about 15 girls from the first offender over a three-year period. He stated that the man called him when he had girls available in Jacksonville and that he would pay the trafficker to select girls to take back to his residence. At home, he paid the females for photo sessions that usually involved nudity, and attempted to have sex with the women. If they were reluctant, he offered them more money. During the search of the residence, agents recovered computer media that contained images and videos of at least two minors, ages 15 and 17, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The man admitted to doing “photo shoots” with each of these minors, and the videos depicted him engaging in sexual intercourse with one of the underaged girls. The man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 33 years in federal prison.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking, and the myriad associated crimes, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has implemented an aggressive and multi-faceted approach to address the issue. In 1983, the JSO was among the first in the nation to employ the use of street-level reverse stings to target and arrest sex buyers in addition to prostituted women. City officers have routinely employed such tactics, at times arresting more than 20 male sex buyers in a single sting operation. Police release the names and photos of arrestees to the media. For example, in December, 2022 and March, 2023, citizen complaints prompted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to conduct prostitution stings along Philips Highway on Wednesday. According to arrest reports, JSO’s vice unit went to the 4200 block of Philips Highway with an undercover officer posing as a prostituted woman. Each operation resulted in the arrest of seven sex buyers, whose identities were publicly disclosed.

Employment loss is a consequence of sex buying that has occurred in the city. In November 2012, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested one of their own officers after he was accused of trying to pick up a prostituted woman while on duty in his patrol car. The investigation began in September when the Integrity Unit learned of his activities by interviewing a known woman in prostitution who claimed to have had negotiations for sex with the officer. She was then used as a decoy and placed in an area where the officer would be. After two separate encounters in November, investigators recorded the officer agreeing to pay $20 for sex. He was charged with two counts of soliciting for prostitution, a second degree misdemeanor, and his identity was released to the press. The man’s police powers were taken away and he was temporarily reassigned before he submitted a resignation letter.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:

Neighborhood Action:

Local Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 954654
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