Florida — In Florida, there is a state law that states children cannot be arrested for prostitution.
Law enforcement officers are supposed to protect children who are being sold as sex slaves, however, in many instances that is not the case and children are being criminally charged with prostitution.
State records show that more than 300 children in Florida have been arrested for prostitution in the past 10 years.
In 2016, Florida passed a law to put an end to arresting children for prostitution, particularly those who were forced into the lifestyle. The law placed a ban on law enforcement arresting children for prostitution.
However, a close look at state records shows that not every law enforcement agency in Florida follows the law. In fact, dozens of law enforcement agencies questioned by Cops and Crime said they had not even heard of the law and had, in fact, recently arrested children who were forced into prostitution.
This is not surprising considering Florida is in the top five for most corrupt states when it comes to corrupt law enforcement agencies.
Lake Wales Police Department is one of those agencies. Lt. David Black, despite a statute that clearly states they cannot arrest children for prostitution, said he stands by his agency’s actions.
Cops and Crime reached out to the State Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and asked why the law was not being followed in Tampa. They refused to comment.
In many cases, law enforcement did not even follow up on tips, and on occasion, lied in reports and left children in the arms of a pimp. Why? Because some of the officers being protected were involved in selling the children.
This is an ongoing investigation by Cops and Crime.
The story will be updated as we uncover other agencies who are not following the state statute.
Cops and Crime will also release the photos and names of the corrupt officers as well as the agencies involved.