Officers in Orange County, Florida performed a sting that resulted in 42 arrests for prostitution and related charges. The two-night sting was executed by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Orlando. Undercover officers portrayed potential customers and arranged to meet the women at local hotels. One woman was arrested twice during the sting, once on each night.
A number of the women arrested had made arrangements online via Backpage.com and other websites. Backpage.com is thought to be a way for Orlando's sellers and buyers of sex to connect. Despite its reputation, the site has been helpful to law enforcement when human trafficking is being conducted. They have been known to proactively contact law enforcement if the signs of human trafficking are detected.
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Six of the women were charged with a more serious crime in addition to the prostitution related crimes. The additional charge cited in this instance was for offering massage services without a license. Massage, from a technical standpoint, is considered a healthcare procedure. Those that perform massages are required to be properly trained and licensed because of this. As a result, performing a medical procedure without a license is considered a felony.
Historically, massage without a license has been one of the options law enforcement has when conducting sting operations, especially in cases of massage parlor raids that are fronts for potential prostitution operations. Law enforcement sometimes has difficulty finding evidence of prostitution within these businesses because compiling the evidence is more extensive than investigating and filing charges of massage without a license, which is also effective in disabling the business operations of these locations.