New Smyrna Beach, FL
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New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, located on the central Atlantic coast of the state. It is considered part of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach metropolitan area, and has a population of roughly 27,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and nearby communities, and throughout the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include reverse stings, other sex buyer arrests, and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. In October, 2022, eighteen people were arrested during Biketoberweek in a sting operation targeting prostitution and human trafficking. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office announced that there were two rental locations in New Smyrna Beach that were being monitored. One man faced charges of child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after renting a hotel room for two 17-year-old girls from Broward County. The two girls said they were posting ads seeking sex and were not forced into it, deputies said. The man told deputies he knew the girls were exchanging sex for money, which triggered a human trafficking investigation. Deputies said six men and 12 women were arrested and face charges ranging from soliciting or offering prostitution to narcotics possession and violation of probation. Although it was reported as a sting operation, for the purposes of Demand Forum we are classifying the arrest of the men for soliciting prostitution as instances of “other sex buyer arrests” since we do not know whether decoys were used to provide the basis for those arrests.
The New Smyrna Beach police Department has collaborated with other agencies in the area to conduct reverse stings. For example, in February, 2017, a multi-agency sting operation resulted in the arrest of four women accused of prostitution and eight men for soliciting their services. The two-day operation was conducted by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the East Volusia Narcotics Task Force, as well as police departments in Daytona Beach, Holly Hill, New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach and South Daytona. The operation targeted prostitution activity along Daytona Beach’s Ridgewood Avenue corridor, which extends south to New Smyrna Beach. Undercover agents posed as prostituting women, and eight men were arrested, including a 74-year-old man who offered an undercover agent $15 for oral sex. The male defendants were all charged under Florida’s prostitution statute with solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation. Their identities were publicly disclosed.
Not all local public agencies take action against the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, in 2010 a popular coach of the high school football team in New Smyrna Beach who was arrested for allegedly trying to pick up a prostituted woman was soon back at work after meeting with school district leaders. The school district told the 68-year-old man that he must take one day off with pay, and aside from that, would not be punished by the school district. Even though investigators said they had video and audio of the man offering $50 for sex, his attorney insisted he was innocent. With the Superintendent of the Volusia County School District asking the man to stay home from school for just one day, the coach was back at work in time for the football team’s next game.
- New Smyrna Beach Police Department
- Volusia County Sheriff’s Office
- East Volusia Narcotics Task Force
Sex Buyer Arrests:
- https://www.clickorlando.com/18-arrested-including-teens-in-human-trafficking-sting-during-biketoberfest-volusia (2022)
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.volusiasheriff.org/12-arrested-during-two-day-prostitution-operation.stml (2017)
- https://m.facebook.com/VolusiaSheriff/photos/arrests prostitution sting (2017)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Daytona Beach Prostitution Sting Using Craigslist.org Nabs 7”, ABC/WFTV-TV 9, September 14 2007.
- https://www.wftv.com/NSB coach-busted-in-prostitution-sting-to-return-to-work (2010)
- https://www.orlandosentinel.com/coach-arrested-prostitution sting (2010)
- https://www.headlinesurfer.com/mainland-high-football-coach-john-maronto-arrested-prostitution-sting (2010)
- https://www.news-journalonline.com/4-women-1-man-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2013)
- https://www.nydailynews.com/fla-deputies-arrest-43-child-sex-prostitution-stings-article (2015)
- “Ex-DCF Investigator Starts 12-Step Program to Help Prostitutes Change Their Lives,” Daytona Beach News-Journal, January 4 2016.
- “5 Women Arrested in Daytona Beach Prostitution Sting,” Daytona Beach News-Journal, February 25 2016
- http://www.newsdaytonabeach.com/3-women-2-men-arrested-in-vcso-prostitution-enforcement-operation (2017)
- http://www.newsdaytonabeach.com/17-arrested-prostitution-sting-including-New Smyrna Beach man-paying-with-peanuts (2018)
- https://www.hometownnewsvolusia.com/news/arrest-reports (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Hooker Says She’ll Weather the Storm”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, September 30 1977.
- “4 Georgians Face Sexual Battery Charge”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, April 16 1996.
- “2 Face Charges for Sex Trafficking”, Orlando Sentinel, August 27 2014.
- https://www.firstcoastnews.com/2-local-20-more-arrested-in-volusia-county-child-sex-sting (2022)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Girls Cop Pleas in Murder Case”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, March 23 1978.
- “Daytona Man Pleads Guilty to Murder”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, June 6 1978.
- “Teenage Murderess Weeps at Sentence”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, July 1 1978.
- “Man Is Charged with Murder”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, January 26 1980.
- “Cop’s Instincts, Persistence Uncovered Chain of Murder”, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, October 4 1982.
- “Confessed Killer Blames Alcohol”, Palm Beach Post, October 6 1982.
- “Confessed Killer Says Women Entered Car Willingly”, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 6 1982.
- “Stano Leads Police to Site Number 32”, Lakeland Ledger, October 28 1982.
- “Lucky Break Led to Capture of Gerald Stano”, St. Petersburg Times, December 14 1982.
- “Police”, St. Petersburg Times, December 14 1982.
- “Police Seek Assailant in 3 Rape Cases”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, July 20 1988.
- “Prostitute’s Deals Turn Deadly, End in Vacant Field”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, August 20 1989.
- “Prostitution: A Dangerous Business; Sex, Drugs and Death: Fast Life Wore Down Twin”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, August 20 1989.
- “Police Search for Suspect in Two Killings”, Ocala Star-Banner, August 9 1990.
- “Blow to Head Killed Woman Found in Woods”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, August 10 1990.
- “Drifter Charged in Florida Murder”, Ocala Star-Banner, September 7 1991.
- “Rape Suspect Surrenders to Police”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, September 3 1992.
- “Suspect in Sexual Assault Turns Self In”, Daytona Beach News-Journal, September 5 1992.
- “Search on for a Daytona Killer”, Gainesville Sun, March 19 2006.
- “Preliminary Autopsy Results Reveal Little About Woman’s Death”, ABC/WFTV-TV 9, October 22 2007.
- “Daytona Beach Police On Serial Killer’s Trail”, Orlando Sentinel, February 11 2008.
- “Are 19 Slayings Along I-4 the Work of Serial Killers?”, Orlando Sentinel, January 11 2010.
- “Police: Men Attack Woman, who Placed Backpage Ad, at Daytona Motel,” Daytona Beach News-Journal, December 31 2014.
- “Deputies: Rape Suspect Person of Interest in Daytona Woman’s Death,” Daytona Beach News-Journal, October 6 2015.
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