Miami 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

Miami Beach is a coastal resort city of approximately 83,000 residents, situated just east of Miami, FL, in Miami-Dade County, FL. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been persistent problems in the area for decades. MBPD officers have also uncovered numerous domestic minor sex trafficking cases in the city. In January 2014, for example, four adults were arrested and charged with sex trafficking, lewd and lascivious conduct on a person under 16, delivering a controlled substance to a person under 18, contributing to the delinquency of a minor after allegedly forcing a 13-year-old female into prostitution, and nude dancing in Miami and Miami Beach. In 2017, an investigation of four local Miami Beach massage parlors revealed evidence of prostitution and sex trafficking. The eight-month-long investigation resulted in the arrest of three individuals and the rescue of two sex trafficking victims. In addition to the arrests, officials seized evidence and cash from all four properties. City Manager Jimmy L. Morales revoked all four licenses, stating that the massage parlors presented “an actual threat to the quality of life and safety” of the community.

To address these crimes and the wide range of offenses associated with the sex trade, the Miami Beach Police Department has attempted to reduce the demand for commercial sex that provides the financial motivation for all sex trafficking. The department began conducting street-level reverse stings in 1986 to identify and arrest sex buyers. Operations typically employ an undercover female officer who poses as a decoy. As sex buyers attempt to solicit sex from the undercover officer, they are apprehended by police. Arrestees’ names and other identifying information are not made public.

In response to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NCOSE team for a National Institute of Justice grant to update and expand Demand Forum (Grant #2020-75-CX-0011), representatives from the Miami Beach Police Department reported that they have also implemented web-based reverse stings (since 2005) and public education which specifically addresses demand (since 2014).

Some local arrests of sex buyers are the result of allegations of crimes against real victims rather than the product of reverse stings using undercover police decoys. For example, in March 2022, Miami Beach Police began investigating a former substitute teacher at a middle school in the city after a school resource officer found girls in possession of narcotics and electronic vape pens. The substitute teacher was arrested and charged for allegedly providing vape pens, drugs, and narcotics to underage teenage girls in exchange for sex acts. His charges included “sexual battery, human trafficking, using a computer and then traveling to meet a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a child.” According to the arrest report, the girls were between 11 and 14. The man’s identity was included in news reports. The man was previously fired from a teaching job in 2018 after school officials discovered his connection to students on Snapchat and evidence of the man exchanging things of value for access to sexually abuse the children. Miami-Dade County Public Schools said the man is precluded from seeking future employment with the School District.

In May 2022, the FBI arrested a doctor who worked at a Miami Beach hospital after a woman sent in a tip that he had tried to buy underage girls as sex slaves. The man faced charges of the attempted sex trafficking of a minor and attempted coercion or enticement of a minor. The woman had met the Doctor a year ago through a dating website, where they gotten together for one night. During their time together, she told him about when she was trafficked at a young age. Months later, the man reached out to her over Snapchat, saying that his friend wanted to meet young girls, and he was willing to pay; he then asked her to help him out. The man wrote that he liked younger girls between 8-15 years of age. The woman reported the incident to the FBI and called the hospital where the man worked to tell the director of security what had been said to her. The FBI set up a sting operation and arrested the man. The man’s detention record said he no longer works at the hospital.

Miami-Dade County John School:

In 2018, The Office of the State Attorney of Miami-Dade County introduced a pre-trial diversion (PTD) program for non-violent, first-time offenders facing misdemeanor prostitution charges. The program, called Demand More, is the first of its kind for Miami-Dade County and seeks to educate those charged with these types of misdemeanor violations about the dangers and realities associated with prostitution and human trafficking.

Demand More has two tracks: one for prostituted persons and one for sex buyers. For prostituted persons, it provides counseling and ancillary services to assist them in overcoming the challenges that have kept them in the cycle of prostitution. For sex buyers, it exposes them to their role in the perpetuation of prostitution and the horrors of human trafficking. Overall the program aims at reducing demand for prostitution and sex trafficking through educational services for both prostituted persons and sex buyers in Miami-Dade County.

Key Sources

2021 National Assessment II Survey

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Arrest of Sex Buyer; Identity Disclosure; Loss of Employment:

John School:

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 82890
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