Port Salerno is a census-designated place of just over 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.
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 about those arrested are often reported in press.
- Martin County Sheriff’s Office
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Prostitution Sting Results in 11 Arrests,” Stuart News, September 13 1998.
- “Police Blotter,” Palm Beach Post, July 11 2004.
- “Eight Arrested on Prostitution Solicitation Charges in Port Salerno,” Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, November 18 2008.
- “Port Salerno Prostitution Sting Nets 7 Stuart Men,” Treasure Coast Newspapers, November 19 2009.
- Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Alleged Prostitution Ring Busted,” Palm Beach Post, January 12 1992.
- “Man Enters Plea in Prostitution Case,” Palm Beach Post, September 11 1992.
- “Man Gets Five Days in Prostitution Case,” Palm Beach Post, November 21 1992.
- “Two Charged with Soliciting Prostitution,” Fort Pierce Tribune, May 19 1994.
- “Ex-Stuart Mayor Faces Charges of Prostitution,” Stuart News, November 6 1998.
- “Police Blotter; Sheriff’s Office; Prostitution,” Palm Beach Post, M
- “Woman Charged with Solicitation of Prostitution in Port Salerno,” Treasure Coast Newspapers, March 9 2009.
- https://www.northcentralpa.com/news/state/who-are-the-264-men-arrested-in-the-florida-day-spa (2019)
- http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/jul/18/woman-ties-port-st-lucie-wanted-sex-trafficking (2013)
- https://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/latest-news/storefronts-conceal-a-vast-illegal-trade-in-prostitution (2019)
- 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.