160 people were arrested in a human trafficking sting headed by the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.
The effort was assisted by various sheriff departments across Florida, a US Attorney’s Office in Florida, and various organizations that provide social services to human trafficking victims.
Those arrested included Disney employees, a teacher, and multiple people who are alleged illegal immigrants.
The Polk County Sherriff Department is led by Sheriff Grady Judd, who has gained national notoriety for his law enforcement tactics.
Sheriff Grady Judd highlighted the new challenges to law enforcement created by the online prostitution industry, saying that it allows for the ‘continued victimization’ of those trafficked.
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“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
The sting resulted in hundreds of criminal charges against ‘John’s’ or people who solicit prostitution. It included 52 felonies and 216 misdemeanor charges.
At least two of those arrested were Disney employees, including 57-year-old Guillermo Perez, who is a bellhop at Coronado Springs Resort in Florida, and 26-year-old Samy Claude, who is a contracted photographer for Disney.
A teacher was among the 160 people arrested. 36-year-old Carlos Gonzalez of Davenport, who was a Math teacher at New Dimensions High School in Osceola County, was arrested for two accounts of soliciting a prostitute.
Seven of the people arrested were suspected of being in the United States illegally.