Florida Human Trafficking Sting Nets Disney Workers and Educators
In a shocking turn of events, a major human trafficking bust in Florida has resulted in the arrest of 219 individuals, including three Disney employees, a school athletic director, and others involved in illicit activities. This operation, known as “Operation Traffic Stop 2,” took place over seven days and led to the filing of 44 felonies and 242 misdemeanor charges against the suspects, with 35 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
Among those apprehended, 83 suspects were charged with soliciting prostitution or attempting to engage in paid sexual activities at the undercover location.
Perhaps most disturbing were the allegations involving parents who left their children in dangerous situations. One father abandoned his 1-year-old daughter while he sought sexual encounters, claiming that the family dog was watching her. Another man left his 15-year-old daughter alone in a motel room on her birthday while he engaged in sexual activities elsewhere, resulting in his arrest.
Notably, three Disney employees were ensnared in this operation, including a security guard, custodian, and training coordinator. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd humorously remarked, “What would an op be if we didn’t arrest someone employed by Disney?”
Vanguard School athletic director Russell Rogers, who also served as an Auburndale High School REAL Academy teacher, faced charges for soliciting a prostitute. The married father of three and former youth football coach found himself in police custody, prompting the school system to move toward terminating his employment, emphasizing that such conduct has no place within their ranks.
Even more alarming were the incidents involving individuals who brought children with them to engage in illicit activities. Two women allegedly brought a 14-month-old child while engaging in sexual encounters, with one woman watching the child while the other was occupied.
In addition to these arrests, high-level executives from California-based companies were also apprehended during the operation. One of them expressed frustration to sheriff’s deputies, claiming that cheating on one’s spouse is not illegal. Sheriff Judd countered this argument by highlighting that engaging in prostitution for extramarital affairs is indeed unlawful.
This operation also identified at least 21 possible human trafficking victims among the alleged prostitutes taken into custody. The arrests shed light on the gravity of human trafficking issues and the importance of addressing them to protect vulnerable individuals, particularly minors, from exploitation.