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Zephyrhills is a city of about 16,000 residents situated near Tampa Bay in Pasco County, Florida. Some areas of the city have been known for street prostitution for decades, particularly along U.S. 301. Cases of targeted homicides of women engaged in prostitution have also been documented. Community complaints about prostitution play a role in police responses, which have included efforts to combat consumer-level demand. According to a 2012 National Assessment survey completed by members of the Zephyrhills Police Department, the city conducts roughly 1-2 reverse stings per year and publicizes the identities of the men arrested. Officers have used reverse stings and identity disclosure tactics since 2005. In their demand reduction efforts, the ZPD has at times collaborated with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
National Assessment Survey
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “10 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” St. Petersburg Times, June 5 2007.
- “Prostitution Operation Nets 10 Arrests,“ St. Petersburg Times, June 5 2007.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 5, Female Officers Went Undercover,” Tampa Tribune, July 1 2007.
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Man Charged with Prostitution,” St. Petersburg Times, March 18 1989.
- https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1990-story (1990)
- https://patch.com/florida/mug-shot-gallery-16-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2013)
- https://lakerlutznews.com/lln/human trafficking pasco county (2018)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Killer Sought in Florida,” Lodi News-Sentinel, December 24 1977.
- “Skeleton Found in Rural Area,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 24 1977.
- “Authorities Identify Ninth Set of Remains Linked to Serial Killer,” Lakeland Ledger, November 23 1984.
- “Officials Identify Skeletal Remains in Slaying Case,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, November 23 1984.
- “Serial Killer Convicted Again,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 7 1994.
- “Confessed Killer Bobby Joe Long Gets a Break,” Ocala Star-Banner, March 9 1997.