Detectives in Florida’s Polk County conducted a four day prostitution investigation that resulted in the arrests of 80 suspects, as well as rescuing at least one trafficked victim.
The investigation occurred between December 12th and December 15th, resulting in a myriad of charges, including soliciting for prostitution, soliciting another to commit a lewd act, deriving proceeds from prostitution and aiding/abetting prostitution.
Undercover detectives posted ads on various websites in an effort to arrest 24 men or “Johns,” as well as others contributing to the illegal industry.
WFLA reports that 66 percent of those arrested have criminal pasts, totaling over 395 crimes committed.
Polk Country Sheriff Grady Judd told WFLA, “Prostitution is not a victimless crime… We arrested a 16-year-old girl from Orlando on Saturday for prostitution. She was driven to our undercover location by a 20-year-old man. The teen is clearly a victim of sex trafficking.”
Judd went on to inform WFLA that the man responsible for driving the teenage victim was arrested and the police force will continue to do everything they can to get her help, as well as track down those involved in the trafficking.
It is hardly a victimless crime, and one the world has seen play out time and time again. A similar investigation in Canada resulted in the rescue of 386 children — and subsequently 348 arrests — of those who were involved in child pornography.
As devastating as these reports seem, they are also in some ways victorious.
Zach Hiner, a spokesperson for Prevent Child Abuse America, said, “When people are actively aware of what’s going on in the world around them, and more importantly, learn more about what they can do to help change or improve the world, great things will happen.”
The more people hear about sex trafficking, child pornography and prostitution crimes, it motivates them into a place of action. In many ways, that motivation stems from news reports like the one following Florida’s recent crackdown.
Hiner explains, “By reporting on events in a way that makes everyone realize how close we are to each other, but also how a small bit of time and energy can go a very long way, the media can help us achieve our goal of creating a society which gives children and families the best chance to succeed.”