Tallahassee, 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

Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida, as well as the government seat of Leon County, FL. The city has a population of approximately 196,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by law enforcement as pervasive problems in the city, in addition to residential complaints to police regarding prostitution activity in certain neighborhoods. Among the more serious crimes associated with prostitution in the city is child sex trafficking. For example, in June of 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Florida announced that a Tallahassee man was convicted in Federal court of coercing or enticing a minor to engage in prostitution. The man was convicted following a two-day trial and faced “a mandatory minimum term of ten years imprisonment to Life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a maximum term of Life on supervised release.” The offender’s conviction was a result of the Tallahassee Police Department’s Operation Stolen Innocence, a multi-agency coordinated effort by the United States Marshals Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Office of State Attorney-Second Judicial Circuit.

In response to the wide range of crimes associated with local prostitution and sex trafficking, police have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex by conducting street-level reverse stings since at least 1989, if not earlier. The use of cameras as a form of evidence and surveillance is often used by police in operations such as street-level reserve stings. Police have also been known to conduct web-based stings in more recent years. For example, in October of 2011, the Tallahassee Police Department and several other law enforcement agencies conducted a web sting that resulted in the arrest of 35 men seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The arrests were made as a part of “Operation Tallyop” by the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In 2019, the Tallahassee Police Department announced the results of a two-year-long sex trafficking investigation called “Operation Stolen Innocence,” which resulted in the arrest of 178 individuals and 72 arrests for charges of solicitation of prostitution. Additional demand reduction tactics, such as community service and Identity Disclosure, have been deployed in the city. In addition, according to survey respondents from the 2012 National Assessment, the City of Tallahassee was one of the first cities in the United States to suspend the driver’s licenses of arrested sex buyers, enforce Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution (SOAP) Orders, and utilize cameras as a form of surveillance.

Employment loss is also a consequence of sex buying in the city. For example, in 2011, a youth baseball and football coach employed by the city was terminated from employment by the city after being arrested in during an online sting targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. In June 2015, a former Tallahassee Police Officer was arrested on the charge of solicitation of prostitution. According to reports, the former officer was arrested due to a complaint of possible drug dealing at a local hotel. Upon arriving at the scene, officers found a known prostituted woman and the former officer engaging in commercial sex. The officer was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. In October of 2019, a physical education teacher at Montford Middle School located in Tallahassee, FL, reported his arrest to the Leon County School District, per policy, at which point the sex buyer was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. The former teacher was arrested on four misdemeanor counts of solicitation, according to court records. The district later transferred the man to Woodville PK-8 School, where he worked again with middle school students. In 2020, the offender was arrested again on “three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior involving a 13-year-old girl and unlawful use of a communication device in furtherance of the crime.” He was held at the Leon County Detention Center on a bond of $10,000 for each of the three lewd and lascivious counts and $1,000 on the communications charge. He was once again placed on paid administrative leave due to his arrest.

In response to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NCOSE team for a National Institute of Justice grant to update and expand Demand Forum (Grant #2020-75-CX-0011), representatives from the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) reported that public education specifically targeting prostitution demand has also occurred in the city and that the TPD used males as the decoy prostituted persons and arrested female sex buyers at least once.

Key Sources

National Assessment (2012)

National Assessment II (2021)

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:

Community Service:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 196169
Comments are closed.