Volusia County, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Volusia County is located in the east-central part of Florida, including the coastal area northeast of Orlando and south of Jacksonville. It is part of the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach metropolitan area, its population is over 500,000, and its county seat is DeLand. Commercial sex activity has posed considerable problems in the community for several decades, and has been linked to cases of suspected sex trafficking, incidents of child endangerment, and targeted sexual assaults and homicides of sex sellers.

Among the efforts to address such problems are those intended to reduce the level of consumer demand that drives all commercial sex and sex trafficking, by providing its revenue stream. For example, in February 2017, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office conducted a two-day prostitution operation, during which undercover agents arrested four women accused of prostitution and eight men accused of soliciting their services. The second day of the sting featured agents posing as prostituted women. The men were charged with soliciting, inducing, enticing or procuring another to commit prostitution, lewdness or assignation. The identities of the men were publicly released.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has often collaborated with the Daytona Beach Police Department, targeting sex buyers in street-level reverse stings since 1977, and web-based stings since 2005.  Large-scale reversals are frequently conducted, using one or more undercover female officers as decoys. An example of a combined sting/reverse sting occurring in November 2013. On the first day, undercover male officers conducted a street-level sting, arresting 10 women.  The next day in the same area, 10 men were arrested after agreeing to pay for sex with an undercover female officer, posing as a prostituted person.  The names and ages of the arrestees were publicized.

In March 2015, an undercover child sex predator sting in Volusia County led to 43 people being arrested for targeting children for sex, prostitution or distribution of child pornography.  Of the 43 arrested, 22 men were caught on camera approaching a decoy house where a team of undercover officers were waiting for them. Each of the suspects thought they had made arrangements to meet a child for sex.  Called “Operation PredaTour,” the undercover sting involved officers posing as children online, waiting to be propositioned. Decoys identified themselves as a child age 14 or younger, and men ranging in age from 20–59 years old traveled from all over Florida to meet what they believed to be an underage girl.

The names and identities of those arrested for prostitution are reported to the media, and have been since 1987. Arrested sex buyers may also have their license suspended or vehicle seized, depending upon the circumstances of arrest. As of September 2010, johns may also have a letter from police mailed to their home address. Dubbed a “Dear John” letter, it notifies all residents of the individual’s illegal behavior and provides information about STDs/STIs that he is at high risk of contracting through prostitution.

Key Partners

  • Volusia County Sheriff’s Office
  • Daytona Beach Police Department

Key Sources

Reverse Sting, Shaming:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Cameras:

Auto Seizure:

Letters:

 

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

 

 

State Florida
Type County
Population 517887
Location
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