Winter Park FL

Tactics Used

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

Winter Park is a city of about 30,000 residents in Orange County, Florida.  Orange County is an area in central Florida with a population of over 1 million, with the major population center of  Orlando and covering unincorporated areas and smaller cities.  The suburb of Winter Park is located just northeast of Orlando.  The presence of prostitution and its associated crime and disorder problems in Winter Park and the region have been well documented for decades, particularly street prostitution and storefront brothels (e.g., massage parlors, spas, nail salons, and a dentist office), as well as web-based commercial sex.  Sex trafficking and assaults involving prostitution transactions have also documented in the area.

In an effort to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking in the city and region, county law enforcement and municipal agencies conduct reverse stings. In May of 2012 police conducted a five-day web-based sting which resulted in 76 arrests in Orange County/ In 2007, police began using cameras along with the decoys to aid in gathering evidence against johns.  The identities of arrestees are released to the media.

In January 2019, an investigation was conducted into human trafficking and prostitution occurring in a storefront “spa” brothels across several counties in Florida. After conducting surveillance and investigations in response to allegations, and then establishing probable cause, warrants were obtained and surveillance cameras installed in numerous brothels, including at least one in Winter Park.  Four spas in Martin County and two in Palm Beach County were also involved in the multi-county sting.  Ten spas from the Orlando area through the Treasure Coast into Palm Beach County were shut down as law enforcement began making arrests.

Most of the men will face charges for soliciting prostitution.  Depending on the circumstances of the individual events, some of the men may not be booked into the County jail. Residents of Florida may receive a notice in the mail saying they are summoned to appear in court; out of state residents may have warrants issued for their arrest in Florida. Different agencies in Florida may handle charging and booking differently; e.g., in related investigations, Martin County arrested and then booked sex buyers, and posted each mug shot online; Palm Beach County did not book them or post photos, and Indian River County agencies posted photos before the arrests occurred.  Soliciting another to commit prostitution is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense and a first-degree misdemeanor for a subsequent offense.  A first offense carries a jail sentence of up to 60 days, and a second offense carries a sentence of up to one year.  Under Florida Statutes, punishment options for people charged for the first time with soliciting a prostitute may include a diversion program that may involve performing up to 100 hours of community service and attending a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking “if such programs exist in the judicial circuit in which the offender is sentenced.”

Key Partners

  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • Orlando Police Department
  • Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Arrests and Shaming of Brothel Clients:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 30383
Location
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