Hillsborough Human Trafficking Stings destroys lives

It is time for legalized regulated prostitution

State and Federal Sex Crime Criminal Defense STATEWIDE: 941-366-3506 Sarasota: 941-366-3506 Lee County: 239-334-8890 Representing the accused

Law enforcement continues to create human trafficking cases in Tampa.  Is it really human trafficking, or are the police creating crimes with outrageous entrapment techniques?

In recent Tampa and Brandon cases, Detectives first post on common escort sites, pretending to be adult prostitutes.  The police are actually soliciting for prostitution offering what initially they represent as adult women to engage in sexual activity for money.  When guys call in, they change the age, then claiming that the prostitute is actually 17 years old.  In doing so, the police  elevate what would normally be a misdemeanor, to a felony human trafficking charge, potentially carrying a life sentence.  In recent cases, the female detectives posted videos on Instagram, scantily clad, in sexual poses, encouraging guys to come and engage in sex for money.

In almost every one of the cases, there is no human trafficking victim, and it is a female detective, pretending to be an underage prostitute.  This enables the detectives to turn a misdemeanor into a major felony making the men arrested face decades in prison, and life long sex offender registration.  Law enforcement is actually creating a felony by engaging in what appears to be illegal conduct,  solicitation for prostitution.

Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession.  It has been around since the beginning of time.  It is true, that in some instances, women are taken advantage of by human traffickers that trick them into prostitution lifestyles.  Many are from foreign countries and are trafficked in involuntary servitude by violent pimps and gangs.  They are truly the victims of human trafficking.

There are however many adult women however that have chosen this lifestyle because of the lucrative money they can make as a “working girl” in just a few hours.  Many women have chosen the worlds oldest profession rather than work at regular jobs.  Life is about choices.

The answer to stopping human trafficking is to legalize prostitution and regulate it, like all of the other vices, such as smoking, drinking and drugs.  Prostitution will never be stopped or ceased to exist.  If there were legitimate facilities that offered prostitution, it would put the human traffickers out of business.

 A good example is the Florida lottery.  Before the Florida lottery, there was the old illegal “numbers game” where people could play a number and bet a two, three or four digit number based on a number from the Cuban Lottery or some other random number that could not be manipulated.  Then came the Florida lottery and it put the illegal lottery out of business.

If a man could go to a legitimate prostitution facility, where the women are medically tested, where they did not have to fear getting robbed or mugged, where the girls are clean and drug free, no one would even think of going to an illegal human trafficking operation. 

Here is the simple truth.  Some men are insecure and lack the social skills to get laid.  Some men are workaholics and lack the time to engage in a relationship.  Some men don’t want to lie to a woman about love or their affection just to engage in sex.  Prostitution fulfills a “need” in society and has been around since the beginning of time.  In most of the civilized world it is accepted and tolerated.

The answer to stopping human trafficking is to create a legal alternative (just as we have done with the illegal gambling and with marijuana). 

As a criminal defense lawyer, and (former federal agent), I have seen this from both sides.  There are some activities that cannot be stopped, and a far better solution, it to make the activity safer and better regulated.  Prostitution even predates human development.  Female chimpanzees even traded sex for food and protection

The human trafficking stings are well intended, but totally ineffective, and worse yet, destroy lives.  A man, simply seeking a sexual encounter, can end up being in prison for years, can end up being a registered sex offender for life, can end up being a convicted felon, all because he answered an escort ad run by the Hillsborough Sheriff’s office.

The police need to be concentrating on real crime, not creating crime.  If you saw the Instagram videos the detectives placed to lure men, you would be shocked.  A video with a female detective posing on a bed in black panties with the caption “Who wants a biteee”  is not legitimate law enforcement.

Over the years, as a defense attorney, I have defended both prostitutes as well as the “johns” that pay them for sex.  As a sex crime lawyer, I have watched the laws get harsher and the harm get greater for those arrested.  As a sex sting lawyer, I have represented over fifty men arrested in sex stings.  In almost every one of those cases, the man was not looking for a minor a child.  It was classic bait and switch by law enforcement and the police arrested “weak” and “insecure men”, who had no intention of hooking up with a minor, until the police suggested and pitched it.

The public needs to learn the truth about what law enforcement and the State Attorneys Office is doing in these types of cases.

Legitimate legalized prostitution is the answer