Miami, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Miami and its surrounding metropolitan area comprise the most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States, with close to 500,000 residents in the city proper and over 2.5 million in the greater metro area. As a major international trade port and tourist destination, the city has struggled with extensive problems related to street prostitution and commercial sex trafficking. In response, the Miami Police Department and Miami-Dade County Sheriff’s Department have constructed an aggressive and multi-pronged approach to identify and apprehend sex buyers. Officers were among the first in the nation to implement frequent and large-scale street-level reverse stings in the early 1970s. Operations are now routinely conducted, using teams of undercover female officers as decoys. As men attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are arrested by a backup team.

Once apprehended, police may also have their vehicles seized and impounded, depending upon the circumstances of the arrest.  The City of Miami Vehicle Impoundment Program permits the Police Department to impound vehicles utilized in soliciting prostitution and assesses a $1000.00 fine.

Arrested johns may be served with SOAP (or Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution) orders, barring them from reentering four highly-trafficked areas of the cities identified by a city ordinance as “Prostitution Zones”. While the duration of the order may vary depending upon the individual’s prior arrest record, the majority of SOAP orders place offenders on probation for three to six months.

To further deter other would-be sex buyers, police release arrested johns’ names to the public. The city’s shaming policy is quite strident; in addition to encouraging media outlets to distribute arrestees’ names, city law enforcement began running the men’s names on a local TV access program in the early 1990s.

While such efforts may seem “extreme” for a city known for its tourism and entertainment industries, it is critical to remember that underage and illegal sex trafficking are substantial and persistent problems in the city. In order to identify and recover victims, Miami law enforcement have concluded that investigations cannot simply target traffickers and prostituted women– they must also aim to curtail underlying demand.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

SOAP Orders:

Shaming/”John TV”:

Auto Seizure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Florida
Type City
Population 409719
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