Orange County, FL

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Cameras
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
Letters
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 1,423,000.  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 are charged with human trafficking a child under 18 years of age 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 the trafficking suspects. The offenders had 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 in which 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 many forms 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 for the past two months before she was found murdered, and 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 along with the decoys to aid in gathering evidence against male sex buyers.  The identities of arrestees have been released to the media.

Not all arrests of sex buyers are the result of decoy operations; some are the result of investigating allegations of offenses against real victims.  For example, in July, 2019 a former Lake Worth 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 who he could engage with in acts of prostitution. The informant provided deputies with the phone number commonly used by the suspect and screen shots 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), who was 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 what 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 currently on sexual 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 letter of resignation 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 more than 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 also was not clear 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.

Key Partners

  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • Orlando Police Department
  • Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation

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 1423000
Location
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