Winter Haven, FL

Tactics Used

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

Winter Haven is a city of approximately 27,000 residents, located in Polk County in central Florida.  The city has well-documented problems with prostitution, as well as cases of prostitution rings involving minors (i.e., domestic minor sex trafficking).  It is served by both the Winter Haven Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which is headquartered in the city. In response to residents’ complaints of prostitution activity in the area, the PCSO has conducted several street-level reverse stings to identify and apprehend johns. One such operation, conducted in April 2012, resulted in the arrest of 21 men. As a warning to other would-be sex buyers, Sheriff’s officers released the names and photos of all arrested johns to the local media, adding that “[the PCSO] will not tolerate prostitution in Polk County… the negative social costs of prostitution hurt families, children and communities… detectives will continue to conduct these investigations — prostitution and solicitation for prostitution is a crime, you will be arrested and you will go to jail.”

For additional information about PCSO operations conducted outside of Winter Haven, please click HERE.

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 32577
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