March 16, 2022

USA: 108 Arrested in Human Trafficking Sting In Florida Includes 4 Disney Employees. Disney Employees Plan To Walk Out Over Company's Response To Florida's Don't Groom Kids Bill.

Orlando Sentinel
written by Garfield Hylton
Wednesday March 16, 2022

Four suspects from Orlando and Kissimmee were arrested in a six-day sting operation named “Operation March Sadness 2.”

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit began the sting operation on March 8, according to a press release from PCSO. Law enforcement departments from Winter Haven, Haines City, Lakes Wales and Auburndale assisted.

Detectives identified sex workers who posted online advertisements as well as investigated those who engaged in online sexual-explicit conversations with people they believed to be minors. Authorities arrested 108 people, including Tiffany Nash and Shannon Johnson, of Orlando.

Officials arrested Nash for trafficking another woman, according to the press release. Authorities said Nash repeatedly threatened the victim if she didn’t solicit herself and then took the victim’s money. Nash faces multiple felonies, including human trafficking, cocaine possession and earning money from prostitution.

Johnson is accused of chatting online with a 13-year-old victim, sending them a nude photo and then traveling to meet with the teen to have sex. Detectives charged him with traveling to meet a minor and the transmission of material harmful to a minor, according to the release.

Authorities also arrested Xavier Jackson and James Compton, of Kissimmee.

Jackson was arrested for communicating with a 14-year-old victim and sending them graphic sexual images. He also vividly described sexual acts he wanted to do with the victim, according to authorities.

Compton, who told detectives he was married with eight children, left one of his kids at a soccer game to meet with a sex worker. He was charged for soliciting.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd believed the operation was a success. “The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile,” Judd said. “Our goal is to identify victims, offer them help, and find and arrest those who are profiting from the exploitation of human beings.”

Polk Sheriff published March 16, 2022: Operation March Sadness II news conference.

Sheriff Judd is joined by the Chiefs of Police for the cities of Auburndale, Haines City, Lake Wales, and Winter Haven, along with non-profits One More Child, Selah Freedom, and Heartland For Children, to discuss the outcome of a 6-day-long undercover investigation focusing on human trafficking, during which 108 arrests were made.

The Post Millennial
written by James Anthony
Wednesday March 16, 2022

The Sheriff of Polk County held a press conference on Wednesday talking about the culmination of a massive sting operation which lead to 108 arrests being made, including four Disney employees.

This announcement comes after on March 9, just days ago, the CEO of Disney loudly and publicly opposed Florida's new "anti-grooming" law, which, according to polls, is supported by over 60 percent of Americans.

The so-named "Operation March Sadness Two" was a multi-agency effort centered around Florida's Polk County, which lies just southwest of the Orlando urban area, and is a highly touristic area.

According to local area news, people included among those 108 who have been arrested "include a retired judge from Illinois, a few restaurant managers, a man who works at FunSpot and several who work at Disney."

People arrested were as young as 17 years old, and as old as 67. Most of them are now facing charges of soliciting a prostitute, but further charges may be laid in certain cases, as the case may be.

Sheriff Grady Judd during his press conference particularly highlighted the case of the 27-year-old Xavier Jackson of Kissimmee Florida, who was one of the people caught in the operation, and "just happens to be a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort for Disney."

"You think there's a few children around there?" the sheriff continued in his discourse. "That's right, I didn't stutter. He was a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort. And was bragging about that."

Jackson is accused of sending explicit photos to someone who he thought was only 14 years old.

The new Florida bill makes it easier for authorities to act against "grooming" behavior in which children are inappropriately sexualized. It has been named the "don't say gay" bill by its detrectors, but also enjoys wide support from people on both sides of the political aisle.

UPDATE 3/16/22 at 11:14pm: Added info below.
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