Port Salerno, 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

Port Salerno is a census-designated place of approximately 10,000 residents located south of Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce in Martin County, Florida. As in the nearby Jupiter and Hobe Sound, Port Salerno residents and local law enforcement have reported problems with street prostitution and sex trafficking in the community for years. Multiple cases of targeted homicides of prostituted women have also been documented.

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. In an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex, and hence prostitution and sex trafficking, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office has conducted reverse stings since at least 1998. Operations are typically conducted at street level, using one or more female undercover deputies as decoys. For example, two reverse stings in Port Salerno in 2008 and 2009 arrested 15 sex buyers. The names, ages, addresses, photos, and other details of those arrested are often reported in the press.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Prostitution-Case Suspect Charged in Alleged Attack,” Palm Beach Post, January 18 1992.
  • “Children Find Nude Body in Wooded Lot,” Stuart News, May 13 1997.
  • “2 Deaths, Many Fears,” Stuart News, May 14 1997.
  • “2nd Woman Found Was Strangled, Police Say,” Palm Beach Post, May 14 1997.
  • “Women’s Slayings Show Port Salerno Has Many Problems,” Stuart News, May 14 1997.
  • “Residents Meet in Aftermath of Port Salerno Slayings,” Palm Beach Post, May 16 1997.
  • “Woman Calls Sheriff’s Office, Says She’s OK,” Stuart News, May 16 1997.
  • “Body of Suspected Prostitute Found; Authorities Don’t Know Whether the Killing Is Related to the Recent Slayings of Two Women in Port Salerno,” Stuart News, May 30 1997.
  • “Port Salerno Murders Show Need to Help Area,” Palm Beach Post, June 12 2004.
  • “Slayings Add Fear to a Florida Town’s Troubles,” Los Angeles Times, June 22 2004.
  • “Accused Strangler Awaits Trial,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, June 25 2004.
State Florida
Type City
Population 10401
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