Great job Citrus County!! I am glad to see that these types of operations are being conducted throughout the State of Florida. Although this is not a sex trafficking sting operation as there was no actual victim that was rescued. The Sheriff’s office used a decoy to set up dates with men(pedophiles). However, can this sting operation be linked to possible trafficking.yes, most definitely. What this shows is that in Citrus county ( as in many other counties throughout Fl) there is definitely a demand for sex with minors. If there is a demand, there will ultimately be a need for supply. With this being said, there is a need to become more aware of what is happening in Citrus County. People in that area need to become aware of the issue of human trafficking as there is a good chance that this is occurring in that part of Florida.
Twenty-two men were arrested after deputies said they came to Citrus County to meet underage girls for sex.
“This is the crime you never see,” Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said. “This is the crime you may never hear of.”
Most of the men arrested in the operation are from the Bay area, but some came from outside of the area and even from outside of the state.
Detectives said the men believed they were meeting with girls between the ages of 12 and 14 years old. Some of the suspects have criminal histories, but many of them do not.
“A lot of them kept saying it over and over again,” said Lt. David DeCarlo, who assisted with the sting. “They lost their job. A lot of them said it’s the first time this ever happened.”
Some of the suspects have children of their own, detectives said.
“We have a volunteer minister up there,” Dawsy said. “We have a substitute teacher. We have a firefighter up there.”
Dawsy said the problem is much larger than many parents realized, and he urged them to keep close tabs on their children’s Internet habits.
He said the suspects used popular sites like Craigslist, AOL and Yahoo! Messenger in their attempts to solicit sex from underage girls.
“This task force saved 22 young people,” Dawsy said. “Twenty-two young people that would have been sexually assaulted.”