Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
As a Florida sheriff recounted the accomplishment of a squad formed to fight human trafficking, one arrest stood out.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister last week summarized the work of the unit formed last June.
“When I became Sheriff — I made a commitment to fight illegal prostitution and to protect the citizens of Hillsborough County from being victimized by predators in our midst,” Chronister said in the post. “The Human Trafficking Squad has been given all the resources they need to save the victims, who often find themselves in a dark and dangerous life with no way out.”
Chronister said that since April when a crackdown on prostitution began, 176 men had been arrested.
“One case that I wanted to highlight,” he said, referring to the arrest of Paul Turovsky.
“July 15 had to be one of the happiest days of Paul’s life; probably one of the happiest days in all our lives,” he said.
“He got married. He got married and he was on his honeymoon. His new bride falls asleep and he decides ‘I’m going to respond to an ad that one of our undercovers had placed to go have sex that evening,”’ he said.
“So he leaves and comes to the hotel and wishes to purchase sex,” Chronister said. “Well, he was placed under arrest immediately.”
Chronister added a punch line.
“We all probably have questions about how long this marriage lasted, but I think the only question here, was, as a wedding guest was it too late to get the gifts that they gave returned back to them?” he said.
One of HCSO’s human trafficking arrest. pic.twitter.com/wPLGGyhVXN
— HCSO (@HCSOSheriff) August 25, 2022
The statement said 10 individuals were arrested after they had “inappropriate conversations, often sharing pictures and videos, with undercover detectives who they thought were underage boys or girls,” the statement said.
“When the opportunity arose to meet, some did not take the bait, while others got in their cars and drove, hoping to meet with a minor. Instead, they found themselves, thankfully, face to face with our deputies, and were quickly arrested,” the statement said.
“Perhaps the most dangerous, are the men who not only went looking for sex with underage victims but paid for it. Now they’re paying the price with felony charges for human trafficking,” the release said.
Chronister said the squad tries to help trafficking victims.
“During our work to eradicate the disgusting act of prostitution, one victim was taken to rehab. Another was returned to her mother, and one provided a plane ticket to return to her family in another state,” he said.
The release noted that in one case “two male human trafficking suspects who traveled from Massachusetts to Tampa with two missing and endangered teens.”
The squad arrested the two individuals plus one more adult, and has put the teens in protective custody, the release said.
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