Orlando, 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

Orlando is located in Orange County in central Florida, with a population of approximately 307,000. City officials and residents have identified prostitution and sex trafficking as substantial problems locally. For example, prostituted women have been murdered in Orlando, and men have been arrested for child endangerment for having toddlers present in their vehicles while they are buying sex. Sex trafficking, particularly that of minors, is also a major problem in the city proper and its surrounding area. Recent cases include one instance in which a 16-year-old sex-trafficked girl was murdered in the city.

The Orlando Police Department routinely conducts reverse sting operations to ameliorate these problems by targeting consumer-level demand. Some operations have been large in scale, occurring in multiple locations and resulting in dozens of arrests. Once arrested, sex buyers may face a range of sanctions, including having their identities publicized and having SOAP orders imposed (i.e., barring them from reentering parts of the community known for significant levels of prostitution). News reports from 1983 indicate that Orlando once imposed community service for prostitution offenses, and in 2015 new legislation required that sanction for prostitution. In 2013, a team of individuals planned to launch a john school program. A respondent to the National Assessment survey indicated that there had been public education efforts in Orlando targeting demand. Reports in early 2015 indicated that such plans were still underway. As of 2019, an online john school developed by a company in Orlando was available (described below), although we do not know if courts have used this option for those arrested in the city.

In October 2015, the plans received support in the form of new legislation designed to combat human trafficking by educating sex buyers and making punishment more severe: the bill would require a first-time sex buyer to perform community service and attend a John School program; if they were convicted twice, they must serve a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. A first offense for solicitation to commit prostitution in Florida is now a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail, one year on probation, and a $1,000 fine. A second offense for soliciting prostitution is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years on probation, and a $5,000 fine. A third offense for soliciting a prostitute is a second-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a probation sentence of up to 15 years, and a $10,000 fine. In addition to any other penalty, every conviction for solicitation to commit prostitution requires the judge to impose a mandatory 100 hours of community service and require the completion of an educational program about the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking, such as sexual violence prevention education program, at the expense of the convicted individual. The court must also impose a $5,000 civil penalty for anyone convicted of solicitation to commit prostitution. If a vehicle is used in any way during the act of soliciting prostitution, the judge can also enter an order impounding the vehicle for up to 60 days.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex within the city. For example, in June 1991, the University of Central Florida’s President resigned after a newspaper reported he called on escort services during trips to at least five cities while on university business in 1990. The man offered his resignation by telephone to the University System’s Chancellor. In 2002, Orlando police Officer James Howard resigned after he was accused of “soliciting a prostitute” near Amelia Street and Hames Avenue in December 2001. He later pled no contest to unlawful compensation for official behavior, a third-degree felony similar to bribery and soliciting a prostitute. The judge withheld adjudication, meaning Howard would end up with no criminal convictions on his record. But the Orlando Police Department’s internal investigation found he had violated the code of conduct, and it was recommended that he be fired.

Online Prostitution Prevention Class (John School):

An online education program for sex buyers has been developed by the North American Learning Institute for availability in Florida and throughout the U.S. The program is based in Orlando. Men may be asked or required to complete the Prostitution Prevention Class, or john school, by a judge, court, parole officer, probation officer, or a state, county, or city official. This first-offender prostitution program may be required as part of a prostitution intervention or diversion program. Whether this program (or any other online class) is a sufficient alternative to a traditional in-person class is entirely up to the discretion of the courts. The Prostitution Prevention Class is offered in minimum time requirements of four (4), eight (8), twelve (12), or sixteen (16) hours. The course cost ranges from $25 to $85 dollars, depending on its length.  A timer is provided to help keep track of time spent within the course. Users may start and stop the class as often as needed, and their progress will be saved each time. The entire class can be completed online and does not require a call to a staff member or a visit to an office to complete the program. The Prostitution Prevention Class is presented in 10 separate sections, and a certificate of completion is provided when all the modules have been finished.

  1. Introduction
  2. Prostitution
  3. Legal status
  4. Health risks
  5. Financial consequences
  6. Effect on prostitutes
  7. Procuring (pimps/traffickers)
  8. Associated community problems
  9. Sexual addiction
  10. Resources and references

Key Partners

  • Orlando Police Department
  • Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Orlando and Orange County

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Loss of Employment:

SOAP Orders:

John School, Community Service, Auto Seizure:

Background on 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:

Child Endangerment During Prostitution Transactions:

  • “Father Arrested for Prostitution with Toddler in Car, Police Say”, NBC/WESH-TV 2, March 11 2014.
State Florida
Type City
Population 307573
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