TAMPA, Fla. — Florida's Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database currently lists 28 convicted sex buyers.
The update comes after the I-Team revealed that one year after its launch the database listed a grand total of one sex buyer for the whole state.
The public database, run by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is meant to prevent human trafficking by posting the names and pictures of people convicted of paying for sex.
But despite hundreds of arrests across the state for soliciting for prostitution, three months ago, the I-Team reported just one person appeared on the list.
Over the course of a year, the I-Team questioned FDLE about the database and lack of names. Then, in January, the agency discovered an automated process it developed to identify possible cases for the list of johns — was not working as it should.
A majority of men on the list now, 19 of the 28, are from the Tampa Bay area.
The Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database is still a far cry from arrests for the same crime, revealing the gap that exists between arrests and convictions.
In some cases the charges are dropped, others go into diversion, some individuals end up pleading to a different charge and some cases are still pending.
This year, the state will study the database's effectiveness and whether it is preventing and deterring human trafficking networks. If the legislature does not reenact the public list of johns, it will be taken down in 2024.
I-Team | Human trafficking coverage
If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline or call 1-888-373-7888. If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.