Polk County, Fla. (WALA) -More than 100 suspects were rounded up in an undercover human trafficking operation in central Florida. The Polk County Sheriff’s office called it ‘Operation March Sadness 2′.
Out of 108 arrested, a majority of them were charged with seeking a prostitute. Others were charged with offering to commit prostitution. One woman was charged with human trafficking. Four men were charged with trying to meet up with children for sex. One of them was allegedly a Walt Disney World resort lifeguard.
In total, Sheriff Grady Judd said four men who worked at Disney were charged in this roundup.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Vice unit arrested the group during a six-day undercover operation. The team said they targeted alleged prostitutes who posted online ads as well as the “Johns” who were looking for them.
Sheriff Judd said one man hoping to hire a prostitute, was a 66-year-old retired judge.
“He said, quote, ‘I’ve been on the other side of this’. Well, I’d like to ask him today. So which side do you like best? Now that you have been the prosecutor, you’ve been the judge. You’ve been at the State Attorney’s Office and now you’re the defendant,” said Sheriff Judd. “So we locked him up in the county jail. He says he lives in Palos hills, Illinois. He requested an attorney. Well, Judge, you need an attorney. You got problems.”
The sheriff said their goal was to identify and free any victims who were being forced into human trafficking and they did discover some victims. The sheriff said members of anti-trafficking organizations were on hand to speak with the accused prostitutes to help determine if they were actually human trafficking victims. If they were, the sheriff said they offered them services and counseling.FOX 10 NEWS