Jacksonville, FL

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Jacksonville is a city of approximately 1.3 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 sex sellers and 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.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution, 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 johns in addition to prostituted women. City officers now routinely employ such tactics, at times netting upwards of 20 men in a single sting operation.  Police release the names and photos of arrestees to the media.

In May, 2018 a Jacksonville man was arrested for trying to purchase sex with a 13-year-old middle school student. The 30 year old man was charged with attempted statutory rape, attempted statutory sex offense, attempted first degree kidnapping, attempted indecent liberties with a minor, felony solicitation of a child under 16 by computer for the purpose to commit a sex act and appear, and felony fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle. He was jailed on $3 million bond. The incident began when the man approached the girl at West Craven Middle school through Instagram. The student started receiving some correspondence from a male she didn’t know, progressed until the man tried to meet with the girl. The student told her mother, who reported the incident to the school’s Student Resource Officer, who then contacted the investigations division. Police corresponded with the suspect on the girl’s phone, and as the conversation progressed it became more and more sexual, and he began to try to get her to meet him. The officer set up a meeting at a restaurant in Vanceboro, where deputies moved in to arrest him. They later seized his home computers and the investigation continued. The suspect was found to have a pending charge for the very same thing: he was previously charged August 4, 2017 by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office with statutory rape of a child less than the age of 15; two counts of indecent liberties with a child; solicit prostitution of a minor; second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor for an alleged sexual relationship with a then 13-year-old girl in Wilmington. He is also accused of soliciting child pornography from the girl.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Neighborhood Action:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 805605
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