Lake Worth Beach, 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

Lake Worth Beach (formerly known as “Lake Worth”) is a city of approximately 39,000 residents, located in Palm Beach County, about 15 minutes south of West Palm Beach, Florida. Prostitution is a persistent and visible problem in the area for decades, generating many complaints to law enforcement agencies. In a recent example from December, 2022, a man was accused of running a brothel in Lake Worth Beach. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrested the man after a confidential informant gave another law enforcement officer a tip that a possible juvenile was working at a “commercial sex house” on South B Street, at a home less than two blocks from an elementary school. Authorities already had the home under surveillance due to a human trafficking investigation and had not seen any juveniles there. One man interviewed in a traffic stop told investigators he went to the house for commercial sex, and that of the two women inside, one appeared to be young. Deputies did what’s called a “knock-and-talk” to shut down the illicit business. Inside the home, authorities found two women, two men, and a key suspect. The women, confirmed to be adults, told investigators the man worked as the doorman to the brothel and would collect $40 from customers. The women said $20 would go to them, and $20 would go to the house. The two “Johns” with whom the woman just had sex confirmed the transactions. Deputies arrested the pimp on a charge of “procure for prostitution-living off the earnings of a prostitute,” and a charge of “keeping a house for ill fame-using a structure for prostitution.” Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are prostitution-related assaults and sex offenses (including at least serial rapists who specifically targeted those being sexually exploited in prostitution) and child sex trafficking.

To deter sex buyers, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting street-level reverse stings using undercover female officers as decoys since 1985. Once arrested, sex buyers are often required to adhere to SOAP orders (barring them from entering areas of the city known for prostitution) and may have a letter sent to their home address detailing their offense.  The PBCSO frequently releases the names and photos of arrestees to the local media. In March, 2019, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced that six men were arrested and faced charges after a prostitution operation in Lake Worth Beach. The sheriff’s office conducted the operation along South Military Trail. Five men faced prostitution-related charges. One man also was picked up on a cocaine-possession charge. A sixth person, who was 17, ran from deputies when they tried to detain him. He was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding, heroin trafficking and marijuana possession. The men live all lived in central Palm Beach County, jail records show, near Greenacres, Lake Worth Beach and West Palm Beach. In July, 2022, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office District 14 Street Crimes Unit conducted an undercover operation within the City of Lake Worth Beach to combat Street Level Prostitution. Female Deputy Sheriffs posed as prostituted women in specific locations identified by citizens’ complaints. The PBSO reported the arrest of 11 men from Palm Beach County for soliciting prostitution in the sting.

Key Partners

  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Neighborhood Action:

Auto Seizure:

  • “Officials Toughen Strategy on Prostitution,” Miami Herald, December 16 1992.

License Suspension:

  • “Lake Worth Cops Use Little-Known Law License Suspensions Latest Tool in Fight against Prostitution,” Palm Beach Post, September 10 1989.

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 38548
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