POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A massive undercover sex investigation in Polk County ended with 154 suspects arrested, Sheriff Grady Judd announced Tuesday.
Polk County detectives said they completed “Operation No Spring Fling.” The charges include soliciting prostitution, traveling to meet a minor for sex, procuring prostitution and child pornography. Detectives also identified and aided potential victims of human trafficking. The suspects arrested ranged in age between 17 and 69 years old.
Of the 154 suspects arrested:
- 69 were prostitutes
- 75 were “johns,” or those who solicited to pay for prostitution
- 8 others were arrested for related charges, such as deriving proceeds from prostitution
- 2 were arrested for traveling to meet a minor
- 30 are married
- 8 were on public assistance
- 5 are in the country illegally
Two females have been identified as likely to be victims of human trafficking; one a 17-year-old and one a 23-year-old A 17-year-old boy who traveled to the undercover location is also being considered a victim of human trafficking. All three have been offered services with the One More Child organization, and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is also involved.
“The primary goal in operations like this is to find victims of human trafficking who are being manipulated into prostitution. Prostitution is also a public safety issue involving the spread of diseases, the use of and dealing in illegal drugs, and other criminal activity that is associated with prostitution. It should be well-known by now that Polk County is not a good place to be involved with prostitution, thanks to operations such as this,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
The operation includes charges ranging from soliciting prostitution, procuring prostitution, traveling to meet a minor for sex, and child pornography with detectives working with police departments in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Haines City. In all, detectives filed 46 felony charges and 202 misdemeanor charges against the suspects.