Florida Teacher And Disney Staff Arrested For Human Trafficking

A human trafficking operation conducted in Polk County, Florida, earlier this month has resulted in 219 arrests, including a high school teacher, three Disney employees and several undocumented immigrants.

On Thursday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd disclosed that the operation’s outcomes resulted in the apprehension of 119 individuals engaged in prostitution, with 21 potentially being victims of human trafficking, as reported by WTVT.

Two individuals accused were found to be residing in the United States without legal documentation: Freddy Escalona, aged 30, and Maria Guzman, aged 36.

According to authorities, when Escalona provided financial assistance to a female victim for vehicle repairs, he purportedly coerced her into prostitution after she indicated her inability to repay the loan.

Upon transporting her to an undercover location, he was apprehended and subsequently informed the authorities that he had “worked” multiple females in his operation.

Guzman was also said to have been engaged in trafficking two victims from a hotel in Orlando, purportedly arranging their “dates” and profiting from the transactions.

According to Fox News, Sheriff Judd’s office indicated that a combined total of 83 individuals were apprehended for purportedly soliciting prostitution. In addition, 17 suspects were arrested, with five of them allegedly involved in profiting from prostitution or assisting prostitutes. Furthermore, eight of the suspects are facing accusations of transporting women to the undercover location.

Throughout the operation, a sum of 44 felony charges and 242 misdemeanor charges were issued.

Judd said, “Not only did we arrest more suspects during this single operation than we have ever arrested before, we identified 21 human trafficking victims. During a similar operation in February, we identified 24 victims. That’s 45 victims we were able to identify this year. The valuable relationships that we have with the social services organizations who join us in these operations make it possible for these women to get help and be emancipated from this way of life.”

Out of those apprehended, 35 were found to be residing in the country without legal documentation, originating from various countries, including Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, the Bahamas and Guatemala.