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Tamarac is a city of approximately 66,000 residents located in Broward County, FL. It is part of the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the city and within the county. Among the more serious issues associated with commercial sex in the area is sex trafficking. For example, in 2012, a Tamarac man was sentenced to 30 years in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release on charges of sex trafficking of a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1591(a), and production of “child pornography” (child sexual abuse material, or CSAM), in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2251(a). The sex trafficker/pimp was accused of sex trafficking an underage girl who ran away from her home. According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, in December of 2009, the sex trafficker/pimp met the girl after she ran away when she was 15 years old. He then lured the girl into a sex trafficking operation where she was groomed for prostitution by the sex trafficker/pimp. She was instructed on how to use various sites for prostitution such as Backpage.com and Craigslist.com, in addition to conducting interactions with potential sex buyers. According to the survivor’s testimony, the man sex trafficked her for over a year, four to five days per week, where she engaged with five to seven sex buyers per day, generating thousands of dollars weekly. The sex trafficker transported the girl throughout Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, sex trafficking her in each location. He also took sexually explicit photographs of her to be used in prostitution ads. In January of 2011, the victim successfully escaped from the trafficker, whereupon the FBI was able located her in North Carolina in May of 2011. Additionally, the trafficker was convicted for sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl from San Diego online. According to reports, the 17-year-old girl met the sex trafficker in her efforts to help the 15-year-old girl that was already being sex trafficked by the offender. The operation was led by the FBI with assistance from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Police have arrested sex buyers as a result of citizen complaints or reports from residents to local police. For example, in 1991, a Tamarac couple was arrested on prostitution charges as a result of a week-long joint investigation by the BCSO’s Organized Crime Division and the Internal Affairs Unit. The husband, a former Sheriff’s deputy, was arrested on prostitution charges after being accused of allegedly operating a prostitution business from his home where his wife solicited commercial sex acts through a 900-telephone number. A spokesperson for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office stated that the wife had advertised in a personal ad with a 900 series number. Customers when calling this number were directed to write their age and contact information to a post office box in Broward. He [the former Sheriff’s deputy] directed her activities. He had all the records. He kept the money.” Officers were not certain where the personal ad appeared but did confirm that the couple made approximately $8,000 per month for a period of six months in which sex buyers were believed to have paid a standard charge of $150. The investigation was initiated after a former sex buyer reported the couple’s operation to local police. The former Sheriff’s deputy arrested and charged with one count of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a $1,000 fine. He was released on $1,000 bond immediately after his arrest, pending a bond hearing to be scheduled at a later date. Upon his arrest, he gave detectives permission to search his patrol car and they found a briefcase containing records of customers and times and amounts paid for sex acts. The former Sheriff’s deputy was suspended with pay pending completion of an internal affairs investigation. According to reports, he was hired as a Tamarac police officer in 1982, before the department’s merger with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in 1989. As a result of the investigation, officials discovered a list of all men who had engaged in commercial sex acts with the wife. The List initially remained sealed as officials were concerned that its release would cause severe repercussions for the men who names were on it – especially if men used aliases or false business cards. However, in November of 1991, the names of 20 men were released by a Broward County judge, and in 1993, the names of over 100 suspects were released. Of the initial 20 names that were released from The List, one alleged name quickly became public, the name of then – Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor, who made his name chasing nude bars and sexual oriented businesses out of Fort Lauderdale. When allegations were publicized that his business card was in the Rolodex and that his name repeatedly appeared in the log, the former mayor resigned without notice “for personal reasons,” as a result of his name being released on July 29th, 1991.
In December of 1991, the couple was officially convicted and sentenced for related charges. The husband and former Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to living off the earnings of a prostitute, 13 counts of illegally taping phone conversations with sex buyers and one count of illegally taping the words by then-Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor during engaging in sex acts with his wife. He was sentenced to one year in prison and was permanently suspended from his employment as a Sheriff’s deputy. The wife pleaded guilty to 20 counts of prostitution and 13 counts of illegally taping phone conversations with sex buyers. She was sentenced to three years of probation and community service.
Loss of employment is also a consequence of sex buying in the city. For example, in 1980, an off-duty Tamarac police officer was one of 75 male sex buyers arrested during a street-level reverse sting conducted by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. As a result of the sex buyer’s arrest, he was immediately suspended with pay by the Tamarac Police Department’s Chief of Police. The former officer’s identity was included in reports from local news sources.
Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/story (1991)
- https://www.upi.com/Deputy-arrested-for-allegedly-prostituting-his-wife (1991)
- https://www.tampabay.com/willets-client-list-is-made-public/ (1991)
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-story (1991)
- https://www.courant.com/group puts pressure on prostitutes johns (1992)
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM in the Area:
- https://miami.cbslocal.com/tamarac-man-arrested-for-prostituting-teen-girl/ (2011)
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-xpm-2011-04-01-fl-sex-trafficking-minor- (2011)
- https://archives.fbi.gov/tamarac-man-30-years-prison-sex-trafficking-minor-production-child-pornography (2012)
- https://www.nbcmiami.com/3-Women-Face-Prostitution-Charges-After-Massage-Parlor-Busts-Broward-Sheriffs-Office (2013)
- https://www.sun-sentinel.com/tamarac-massage- (2013)
- https://www.palmbeachpost.com/woman-testifies-against-suspect-in-sex-trafficking-trial (2018)
- https://www.tapinto.net/arrested-for-allegedly-making-more-than-19-000-a-month-as-prostitute-in-tamarac (2022)
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