School coach, Disney employees among those arrested in human trafficking sting

Polk County deputies said 219 arrests were made.
Polk County deputies said 219 arrests were made.(Polk County Sheriff)
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 12:07 PM EDT
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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd held a press conference to announce that more than 200 people are facing charges after a multi-agency human trafficking investigation.

Freddy Escalona, 30, of Chicago was charged with human trafficking and deriving proceeds from prostitution. According to the sheriff’s office, Escalona loaned a woman about $2,200 so she could fix her car. Escalona made her prostitute herself to pay back the money. He drove the victim to the undercover location, and was taken into custody. He told detectives that he had “several females that he worked” who paid him to transport them and “keep them safe.”

Another individual, Maria Guzman, 36, of Orlando, was also charged with human trafficking and deriving proceeds. Deputies said Guzman trafficked two victims from a hotel in Orlando and received money.

Judd said deputies are investigating two others for potential trafficking

A school athletic director and coach who worked at Auburndale High School was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Judd also said three Disney World employees were also arrested.

Judd said three Disney World employees were also arrested in the operation.

In total, 219 people were arrested in connection to the undercover human trafficking operation. There were 83 suspects arrested for soliciting a prostitute and traveling to the undercover location to negotiate having sex in exchange for money; 17 other suspects were arrested, and of those, five were either deriving proceeds from prostitution or aiding and abetting prostitutes, and eight drove the prostitutes to the undercover location.

Detectives charged a total of 44 felonies and 242 misdemeanors during the investigation.