An anti-prostitution sweep in Polk County, Florida called operation “When Will You Learn” put behind bars close to 100 people, including a former police officer and a 15 year-old girl.
According to Mail Online, the four-day sting netted 98 arrests on charges spanning from drug possession and child abuse to aiding and abetting prostitution. Among those who were taken by law enforcement was former Orlando police officer Michael Johnson who served on the force from 1994 to 1996. Johnson is reported to have tried to recruit a female undercover officer as a prostitute, asking for a 25% cut of the gains for his protection. He then offered to cut that percent if she had sex with him first.
The operation began after the 2013 arrest of suspected pimp Montavious Rakeem Postell, who was accused of forcing a 15 year-old girl to commit lewd sexual acts for his own personal gains. When authorities interviewed the girl, they learned she had been drugged, beaten and forced to have sex with Postell before being driven into a life of prostitution.
The list of suspects who were arrested for human trafficking includes 28 prostitutes, one of them a 15-year-old girl, 52 suspected clients and 16 pimps. Of these numbers, 24 were married and 64 of them had gone to jail for a combined total of 448 times before.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd makes no bones about the reality of the situation, stating prostitution is not a “victimless crime,” and in his county, the pimps are now the hunted.
“Human trafficking is a serious problem in the Central Florida area. We have found that one of our best tools to find, arrest, and prosecute traffickers is to conduct undercover prostitution investigations.”
Other arrests made in the sting include Deanna Elimon, 20, of Jacksonville, who left her 1-year-old and 5-year-old children in her car as she performed sexual services on John Alexander, whose Facebook page says he is skilled at “staying out of jail.”
Yuval Barak, 36, a sex offender from New York, was busted trying to solicit sex for $80 from an undercover operative.
Paul Keane, a married Disney management trainer, also tried to get a little hanky-panky from an undercover agent, but could only fork over $30 for the dirty deed.
A National Guardsman by the name of Jalil Hayes, 25, decided that the hotel he was filling a job application out for would be the perfect place to offer a pretty undercover officer $40 for a little oral entertainment.
Strangest of all is Justin Link, 33, of Davenport, Florida who decided to show his creative side when he arrived at the sting location the officers had set up. While trying to recruit the female officer to have sex with himself and a list of friends, Link offered the agent everything he was interested in her doing. If his offer of a generous amount of cocaine was not bad enough, he came with a wardrobe package that included sexy lingerie, high-heeled shoes, two dog collars and a vibrator.
And duct tape.
As station WFTV reports, Sheriff Judd was told that some of the girls would very much like to get out of prostitution, but they fear doing so would put their life in danger.
“I had one of them tell me, ‘If you don’t come work for me, I’m going to throw acid in your face and burn you up.”‘
— Laura Moody Fox 13 (@LauraMoodyFox13) May 28, 2014
— WFTV Eyewitness News (@WFTV) May 27, 2014