December 3, 2018, Polk Co., FL
When William Welch showed up to meet a 14-year-old for sex, something didn’t look right. He had a sinking sensation that he was being watched so he ditched his car and took off on foot, disappearing into the night.
Welch’s hunch was right. He had arranged a date with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl. This was a part of the latest sting operation designed to stop human trafficking in Polk County, FL. Operation ‘Naughty – Not Nice II’ successfully arrested 103 individuals initially.
With a warrant out for his arrest and his picture all over television, Welch turned himself in the next day bringing the total of arrests to 104.
Results of the operation:
- – 56 arrests were those accused of advertising prostitution online.
- – 31 arrests were those accused of soliciting undercover detectives who posted ads for prostitution.
- – 11 arrests were those accused of deriving proceeds from prostitution.
- – 6 were taken into custody on drug charges and other offenses.
The operation that nabbed a Disney worker and doctor also led to the arrest of Anthony Camacho, 23, of Orlando. Camacho drove a 17-year-old girl to a location in Polk Co. for sex. He has been charged with human trafficking and the possession of cannabis.
The 17-year-old girl who ran away from her home in Virginia also faces drug charges. It is likely she is a victim of human trafficking, so she and two other potential victims were referred to One More Child, a Lakeland-based nonprofit agency that helps and shelters survivors of human trafficking.
“This is a bad man,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said about Camacho. “We’re going to do our very best for him to go to prison.”
During Sheriff Judd’s press conference he expressed that arresting victims for prostitution is simply a way to help get them out of their horrible situation. That is why he works with agencies like One More Child to ensure that suspected victims receive the care they need. Sheriff Judd’s goal is to stop human trafficking and put the traffickers away for a long time.
Stings like these also help to reduce the demand that fuels sex trafficking. If men and women are afraid they will be arrested for trying to buy sex, they will be less likely to take a chance. Sheriff Judd is making it known that you will not get away with human trafficking in Polk County. We are grateful for the work he and all of his team have done to make a difference!
by Blair Pippin
Creative & Prevention Director • Florida Abolitionist