7 men looking to exchange money for sex arrested on Valentine’s Day, Jacksonville police say

Operation took place on Philips Highway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A police operation led to the arrests of seven men accused of looking to exchange money for sex on Valentine’s Day.

The operation targeting so-called johns took place on Philips Highway in the Pine Forest area after residents complained, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

An arrest report for one of the men arrested Tuesday shows that an officer from the Vice Unit was working “in an undercover capacity,” posing as a prostitute. When an offer for sex was made, the officer gave the takedown signal, and backup officers moved in to make the arrest, according to the report.

The men are charged with soliciting, which is a misdemeanor charge. That is why News4JAX is not naming them.

Multiple residents and employees in the area told News4JAX on Friday that they are glad this happened.

George Contois, who lives off Philips Highway, said he believes JSO cracking down on prostitution will make the area safer.

“I think it’s a dang good thing they did it,” Contois said. “It’s about time.”

Contois said JSO conducting operations like the one this week will take this activity away from children in the neighborhood.

“Honestly, we have a bunch of young girls, and the questions are asked, ‘What are they doing?’ ‘Why are they there?’ ‘What is this girl doing?’ ‘Why is that guy picking her up?’” Contois said.

Another person in the Pine Forest area who lives off Philips Highway said she is also pleased JSO is trying to make the area safer, but more still needs to be done.

“It’s gotten better than it used to be. It’s not nearly as bad as it was eight years ago, but it’s bad enough,” said the woman, who wished to remain unnamed. “You find condoms everywhere.”

The people who News4JAX spoke with also said hope more operations like this happen so that eventually there will be no prostitution along Philips Highway.

About the Author:

Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, IA.