Panama City, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Panama City is located in Florida along U.S. Route 98 on the panhandle, about midway between Tallahassee and Pensacola,  and has a population of roughly 37,000.  The Panama City Police Department fields complaints about prostitution from residents and businesses, and sex trafficking is known to have occurred in the area.  To address these problems, police have conducted street-level reverse stings and released to the media the identities of arrested sex buyers since at least 2004.  One four-day reverse sting resulted in the arrest of 72 men.  More recently, the city has also conducted web-based reverse stings.  For example, in April 2018, a man used Facebook to make contact with someone he thought was a prostitute but was instead an undercover Panama City police officer.  During the communications, he agreed to pay $200 for sex and described what he wanted, and agreed to meet in person.  He was then arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. In March, 2021 Panama City Police arrested 18 people over two weekends in an operation targeting people attempting to solicit for prostitution and crimes involving narcotics.  Police reported that several suspects contacted an investigator who was undercover and tried to give the investigator money or drugs for sexual acts.  The identities of those arrested were disclosed in news reports.

Key Partners

  • Panama City Police Department

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 36805
Location
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