Ocala, 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

Ocala is a community in central Florida with a population of just over 60,000.  There has been a longstanding recognition that prostitution is a substantial problem locally, and there have been documented cases of child and adult sex trafficking, and related drug offenses, violence, and forced performance in prostitution. For example, in August, 2022, the Ocala Police Department (OPD) arrested a man on charges of sex trafficking. OPD initially responded to a report of an assault at a hotel  on SW College Rd. When he arrived, the police department says the 41-year-old suspect was yelling at, and chasing, a female victim through the hotel parking lot. The victim appeared to be in fear, and a witness reported hearing the victim yelling for help, saying the man was hitting her. During their investigation, OPD found the victim had been trapped for many years, and could not leave because the trafficker threatened to kill her before. The man isolated her from her family, took her government issued identification, and financially and sexually exploited her. The man gave her drug-laced beverages, forced her to have sexual intercourse with him, and would force her to perform sexual acts on camera. The victim added that the man created multiple escort sites through apps and email. When the trafficker became agitated, the victim reported he would strangle her to the point of passing out, and one of the sexual and physical abuse encounters happened while they were at the hotel in Ocala. The trafficker required $1,000 a day, having the victim go out and prostitute herself on “calls” with “at least 30” occurring in Ocala. He would not allow the victim to keep any of the money, but instead let her have a CashApp that she was forbidden to withdraw money from.

In an effort to reduce the demand for prostitution, the Ocala Police Department and other collaborating agencies have conducted reverse stings on a frequent basis. The identities of those arrested in the reversals are made public. Reverse stings have been conducted since at least the mid-1990s.  Community and business complaints play a role in police conducting prostitution operations.

Key Partners

  • Ocala Police Department
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming:

Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:

Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Violence:

Local Prostitution-Related Violence, Forced Performance in Prostitution:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 60021
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