Largo is a city of approximately 78,000 residents, located near Tampa, Florida. Like other cities in Pinellas County, Largo has struggled with the problems associated with commercial sex for decades, and the city has had documented cases of sex trafficking. In April 1998, the Largo Police Department conducted its first street-level reverse sting along a strip of Clearwater-Largo Road. The operation, which employed the use of an undercover female officer as a decoy, resulted in the arrest of six johns. The men’s names and other identifying information was not made available to the public.
In their efforts, Largo Police often coordinate and pool resources (including staff) with their peers at the neighboring Clearwater Police Department.
- John Arrests:
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Largo Prostitution Sting a First”, St. Petersburg Times, April 28 1998.
- “Largo Police Targeting Prostitution,” St. Petersburg Times, January 2 1999.
- “Two-City Police Sting Nabs Four Johns, Clearwater and Largo Police Cooperate for the First Time to Bait People who Would Pay for Sex; Four Men Were Cited,” St. Petersburg Times, July 2 2002.
- “Cleanup Rounds up Clients in Prostitution Sting,” St. Petersburg Times, August 9 2005.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Procuring Trial of Two Delayed Because of Illness,” St. Petersburg Evening Independent, August 18 1977.
- “Human Trafficking Charges Follow Accusation; Largo Man Used Woman’s Addiction to Painkillers to Control Her for Months,” St. Petersburg Times, June 23 2011.
- “Two Men Accused of Operating Pinellas-Based Human-Trafficking Ring,” Tampa Bay Times, May 10 2013.
- “Three Arrested in Human Trafficking Operation,” Largo Leader, August 25 2014.
- “Women Give Harrowing Testimony of Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Ring”, Tampa Bay Times, October 14 2014.
- “4 Arrested in Human Trafficking Probe,” CBS/WTSP-TV 10, November 5 2014.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “7 Arrested in Raids on 5 Massage Parlors,” St. Petersburg Times, April 3 1976.
- “Largo Mayor Seeks Anti-Obscenity Law following Health Studio Raid,” St. Petersburg Times, November 6 1976.
- “Largo Man Charged with Running Prostitution Business,” St. Petersburg Times, July 19 1980.
- “New Boundaries Sought for Crime Fight,” St. Petersburg Times, June 14 2001.
- “Cooperative Spirit Is Welcome Change,” St. Petersburg Times, June 15 2001.
- “What’s up with Largo Road?”, St. Petersburg Times, June 4 2004.
- “Police: Women Peddled Sex at Spa, Kiwi Spa, Where Police Arrested Two Women, Is the Second Local Spa Shut down This Summer under Such Accusations,” St. Petersburg Times, August 17 2005.
- “Largo Police Plan to Zero in on Road,” St. Petersburg Times, March 24 2007.
- “Officers Arrest 6 in Massage Sting,” St. Petersburg Times, August 17 2007.
- “Police Make Arrests in Prostitution Cases,” Largo Leader, August 12 2011.
- “Largo Ordinance Targets Street Prostitution,” Largo Leader, April 3 2013.
- “Prostitutes ‘Screening’ of Undercover Cops Could Result in Arrest,” Tampa Bay Times, April 27 2013.