The Polk County Sheriff’s office announced on Friday that 160 people were arrested in the latest human trafficking sting enforcement operation.
160 people were arrested in the seven-day undercover human trafficking operation called “Operation Fall Haul 2.”
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters a Disney worker was arrested in the sting:
During the press conference, Sheriff Judd cracked a smile when he reported that Disney also had two employees arrested during the sting. The Sheriff said:
“Where would we be with an undercover operation and no Disney employees? Oh yes, we always have Disney employees.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office released this statement.
160 people were arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit during a seven-day undercover human trafficking operation, “Fall Haul 2,” which began on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. PCSO was assisted in the effort by police departments from Winter Haven, Haines City, Lake Wales, Davenport, and Bartow, as well as the Office of the State Attorney 10th Judicial Circuit, State Attorney Brian Haas, members from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), and social services organizations: One More Child, Heartland for Children, My Name My Voice, Selah Freedom, and the Children’s Home Society of Florida who provide on-site services to identified or potential trafficking victims.
Those who travelled to provide prostitution services were screened by detectives and the social services organizations to determine if they were being trafficked or exploited by others.
Two trafficking victims, and another five possible victims, were identified. All prostitutes taken into custody were offered services by the social services organizations at the operation. Follow up will be conducted with those who are suspected to be sex-trafficked or exploited.
“The online prostitution industry enables traffickers and allows for the continued victimization of those who are being trafficked. Our goal is to identify victims, offer them help, and arrest those who are fueling the exploitation of human beings (Johns) and those profiting from the exploitation of human beings. Prostitution is not a victimless crime – it results in exploitation, disease, dysfunction, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, and broken families.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Some interesting notes from the operation:
• 26 of those arrested told detectives that they are married.
• Detectives charged those arrested with a total of 52 felonies and 216 misdemeanors.
• Criminal histories of everyone arrested included 419 previous felonies and 619 previous misdemeanors. Some of the prior histories include charges for kidnapping, robbery, aggravated battery, and sex offenses.
• 15 of the arrested were from other states and one was from Puerto Rico (Georgia, Michigan, New York, California, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Arizona).
• 16 suspects live in Polk County.
• 12 suspects told detectives they receive government assistance.
• Detectives seized cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), and marijuana, from those arrested during the operation.
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