Orange County, 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

Orange County is an area in central Florida with a population of roughly 1,430,000. The major population center of the county is Orlando, and it covers unincorporated areas and smaller cities. Prostitution is related to numerous problems in the county, including child sex trafficking. For example, in February 2022, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation arrested three people accused of sex trafficking three girls, ages 15 and 16, between February 2021 and July 2021 at multiple locations throughout Orange County. All three were charged with the human trafficking of a child under 18 for commercial sex. The victims were at-risk youth who were either runaways or in foster care. The MBI began investigating in July 2021 when a 15-year-old runaway was found at Dr. Phillips Hospital, telling authorities she had been battered. An investigation determined human trafficking was taking place and led to the trafficking suspects. The offenders had compelled a 15-year-old girl and at least two other teens into engaging in similar acts. One defendant would supply the women with drugs and transportation and, at one point, raped one of the victims. Investigators say the local hotels where the teens were trafficked include hotels on West Colonial, off Adanson Street, and on Jamaican Court in the tourism district. According to the arrest affidavit, whenever the teen victims refused to engage in sex acts with men, the offenders would force them to consume alcohol or drugs and, on at least one occasion, held a hotel door shut when one of the victims tried to leave. This went on for several months, during which the three juvenile victims were compelled to have sex with adult males numerous times per day.

In addition to such sex trafficking, the county has also been the site of violence related to prostitution. For example, in 1999, at least two prostituted women were assaulted by the same person, including one who suffered collapsed lungs, pelvic and rib fractures, and internal injuries when she was thrown from a pickup and run over on an interstate highway. A serial rapist specifically targeted prostituted women in the county over a four-month period in 2012. In another assault, an escort bit and “nearly severed” the penis of a sex buyer in 2013 in Orlando and was charged with attempted homicide. In October 2022, a 16-year-old girl who was found shot to death in Pine Hills was linked to a human trafficking investigation. Deputies said she had been missing two months before she was found murdered; she was allegedly a victim of 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 county include reverse stings and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. For example, in May 2012, police conducted a five-day web-based sting which resulted in 76 arrests. In 2007, police began using cameras and decoys to gather evidence against male sex buyers—the identities of arrestees were released to the media.

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 July 2019, a former Lake Worth Beach High School teacher was arrested in Orange County for trying to arrange sex with a 10-year-old girl.  A confidential informant had contacted Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies and claimed he/she had information regarding a sexual predator. The informant admitted they were engaging in acts of prostitution and that they had a regular prostitution customer who had recently told the informant that he was seeking a 10-year-old female for sexual intercourse. The informant told investigators that he/she made him think the informant had access to juvenile females he could engage with in acts of prostitution. The informant provided deputies with the phone number commonly used by the suspect and screenshots of a text message conversation between the informant and that phone number. The informant later introduced the suspect to a law enforcement agent (via a phone call), posing as a mother willing to offer her 11-year-old daughter to engage in sexual acts for money. The man agreed to pay the agent $100 for an hour with who he believed to be the agent’s daughter. He agreed to meet at a location on S. Orange Blossom Trail, where he was arrested. The man was already on sex offender probation after trying to arrange sex with a 12-year-old girl in 2011 through an undercover officer in Palm Beach County posing as the child’s mother. He had been sentenced to five years in prison and another five years on probation for that crime.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred multiple times in Orange County. For example, in May 2008, a veteran Orange County sheriff’s supervisor resigned amid allegations that he had solicited a prostituted person while on the job. The Commander submitted his resignation letter to the Sheriff four days after the agency placed him on paid leave for the alleged misconduct. He had served with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years and, most recently, was the night-watch commander, overseeing over 100 deputies and acting as the sheriff’s spokesman during overnight breaking-news events. The man had been put on leave after the agency received “allegations of inappropriate relations with a prostitute” while on duty in his agency car. The specifics of the allegations against the Commander — including when they were received and by whom — were not initially released to the public. It was also unclear whether the prostituted woman came forward or the allegations surfaced in some other way. The Sheriff’s Office is prohibited by law from releasing information about an ongoing internal investigation until action is taken or the case is dropped. The 2008 resignation was not the first local law-enforcement officer to have resigned after allegations of soliciting a prostitute. In June 2006, an Orange County Deputy was caught drunk with a woman whom Orlando police thought to be a prostituted person on a city street. He was placed on light duty and resigned in September of that year. He served eight months of probation after he pleaded no contest to “soliciting a prostitute,” according to the Orange County clerk of courts.

In April, 2023, another 18 male sex buyers were arrested in an Orange County reverse sting. Each man was charged with a misdemeanor, and their photos and identifiers were included in news reports.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Disclosure of Identities:

Loss of Employment:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type County
Population 1429908
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