Officers from 10 different law enforcement agencies in Florida conducted a sting operation called Operation Traffic Stop 2, resulting in the arrest of 219 suspects. The operation led to the apprehension of 119 alleged prostitutes, 35 suspected illegal immigrants, and two individuals accused of human trafficking. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the operation’s outcomes during a news conference, revealing that among those charged were a local high school coach and several Disney employees.
During the operation, 21 of the suspected prostitutes were identified as possible victims of human trafficking. This marks a total of 45 victims identified this year, including the 24 victims identified during a similar operation in February. Sheriff Judd emphasized the importance of the collaboration between law enforcement and social services organizations in providing assistance and emancipation to these women.
The 219 individuals arrested in the operation had previous misdemeanor and felony charges against them. Sheriff Judd referred to them as “criminals,” although he acknowledged that some may be “innocent victims” of human trafficking. Some of those arrested were reportedly involved in the sex industry to repay the smugglers who brought them into the United States.
Among the arrested individuals was Russell Rodgers, identified as a high school coach and athletic director at a private school. Additionally, several Disney employees were also apprehended during the operation. Sheriff Judd highlighted the significance of these arrests, stating, “What would an op be if we didn’t arrest somebody that was employed by Disney?”
The operation’s focus extended beyond arrests, with immediate services provided to the victims of human trafficking. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement and social services aim to help these individuals break free from exploitative situations.