Pensacola is a city of approximately 52,000 residents, located in Escambia County in western Florida. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the city. Other crimes associated with commercial sex have also occurred locally, including the assault and murder of prostituted women. One serial killer who targeted prostituted persons has operated in Pensacola, and killed at least eight women. Several other unsolved homicides and cases of missing persons involved in prostitution have also occurred in the city.
Tactics used to minimize the negative impact of the local commercial sex market have included at least one effort to combat demand. In 2005, a reverse sting in the city resulted in the arrest of nine men. In December 2013, January 2014, and July 2017, reverse stings were conducted by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, including some that were web-based. It is unclear how many of the men arrested were apprehended in the city of Pensacola, versus in other towns and unincorporated areas of the county. The mugshots and names of the arrestees were publicly posted.
In 2009, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office released a copy of a letter that is sent to the registered owners of the vehicles involved in arrests for violations of Florida prostitution laws. The letters will be sent to vehicle owners along with a copy of Florida Statute 796.07 which prohibits prostitution. The letter notifies a vehicle owner that a vehicle registered in their name was involved in a prostitution arrest and will name the person arrested in the vehicle. It also notifies the vehicle owner that their vehicle could be seized when involved in some crimes. It also advises of the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases and advises testing for STDs if involved with the person arrested.
- Pensacola Police Department
- Escambia County Sheriff’s Office
- Reverse Stings:
- “Officers Charge 9 in Sex Sting”, Pensacola News Journal, January 12 2005.
- “Nine Men, Woman Charged in Sex Sting”, Pensacola News Journal, March 6 2005.
- “Local Pastor Caught in Sting”, Atmore News, January 22 2014.
- “Florida Pastor Loses Job After Arrest in Prostitution Sting”, Raw Story, January 24 2014.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: