South Bay, 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

South Bay is a city of just under 7,000 residents in Palm Beach County in southeastern Florida, almost 50 miles west of West Palm Beach. Child sex trafficking of a girl with a learning disability has been documented in the city.

Sex buyer arrests and identity disclosure are consequences of sex buying that have occurred in the city. In November 1977, the Chief of the South Bay Police Department was arrested on drug and prostitution charges. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said he had been under investigation for about a month. He was charged with possession, sale, and delivery of marijuana, procuring for prostitution three times, and transporting for prostitution three times. His identity was released to the press. The police department’s records of gambling, prostitution and narcotics investigations were subpoenaed by the state attorney’s office. The City Council met to formally suspend the Police Chief, but it was not specified how long or how permanent his loss of employment would be.

In August 2021, a man was arrested after being accused of manipulating a 16-year-old girl into having sex with him and his friends. The investigation began a month earlier when the girl’s mother found inappropriate texts between the man and her daughter. Her mother explained that the girl had a learning disability and could only read at a third grade level. Investigators determined the girl had been exploited on five separate occasions in the last month, including one encounter when the girl was taken to South Bay to do a “show” and have sex with his friend in exchange for money and another in which the girl said she felt “brainwashed” into letting one of his other friends touch her. The man took her shopping for lingerie and perfume, bought her roses and a birthday card for her grandmother, and promised her cash and an iPhone, which she never received. The man used the money from her exploitation to buy drugs. Eventually, the girl told her grandmother about the situation. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office charged the man with three counts of kidnapping for human trafficking and three counts of procuring for prostitution. His identity was released to the press.

Key Partners

  • South Bay Police Department
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
  • Florida State Attorney’s Office
  • South Bay City Council
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
State Florida
Type City
Population 6665
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