Florida’s Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 160 suspects during a human trafficking enforcement operation that began August 30, the agency announced Friday.
“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 press release said.
The sheriff’s office highlighted several of those arrested, namely 57-year-old Guillermo Perez. The suspect was taken into custody after allegedly soliciting a prostitute.
The man answered an online escort advertisement and reportedly agreed to pay $80 for sex with an undercover officer.
“Perez is employed as a bellhop at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort,” the agency explained.
In addition, a 26-year-old man named Samy Claude was also accused of soliciting a prostitute. The man is a self-employed photographer who often had contracts with Disney.
Human trafficking occurred when someone used force, fraud, or coercion to acquire labor or commercial sex acts, the Blue Campaign’s website read, adding millions of people fell victim to trafficking every year.
During a press conference on Friday, Sheriff Grady Judd addressed the recent operation, dubbed “Fall Haul 2”:
Sheriff Judd also said in a statement:
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.
In August 2021, several arrests occurred when suspects believed they were meeting teenagers to have sex but had actually communicated with undercover detectives in Florida.
Among those suspects were three Walt Disney World employees, and the nearly week-long operation targeted those accused of using the internet to prey on children, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.