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Dallas Sees Surges in Sex Trafficking, Prostitution

Prostitute on street | Image by M-Production/Shutterstock
Prostitute on street | Image by M-Production/Shutterstock

Two crimes connected to the illicit sex trade in Dallas have seen spikes in City data in 2024.

The purchase of prostitution and human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sex are two categories of crime on the rise this year, alongside drugs and motor vehicle thefts, as covered in The Dallas Express. For instance, DX‘s Crime Boss for the month of April, Council Member Chad West (District 1), has logged a 33.2% increase in motor vehicle theft in his council district as of May 7, according to data from the City’s crime analytics dashboard.

So far this year, the number of prostitution-related offenses totaled 148 — 119 of which occurred in Council Member Omar Narvaez’s District 6. The purchase of prostitution comprised 93 of the offenses clocked. This represents a 365% increase compared to the year before.

This massive surge may reflect the Dallas Police Department cracking down on the buyers of commercial sex services. There have also been several well-publicized busts of johns this year in undercover operations, as covered in The Dallas Express.

A similar jump was seen last year in prostitution offenses, for which the northwestern part of Dallas is ground zero. There were a total of 441 reports of prostitution logged in 2023 — a massive 153.4% increase from 2022.

Human trafficking for commercial sex, a crime that is inherently connected to prostitution, has also reached new heights in Dallas this year. Compared to just 15 such offenses clocked over the same period in 2023, this year has seen 28 incidences for an 86.7% hike year over year. According to City data, the victims were all female and ranged in age from 14 to 43. The majority were black, while 10 were Hispanic and four were white.

As reported in The Dallas Express, a group called the Shepherd’s Watch Foundation has been monitoring sex trafficking operations in the region, noting that over 400 escort sites were servicing Dallas. Exact figures for the city are difficult to come by, never mind a clear portrait of the murky world of sex trafficking itself. This is because, as the group explained, rings tend to relocate every 48 to 72 hours.

For DPD, combating this and other illicit activities is made difficult by a significant and longstanding officer shortage. Although a City report previously recommended a force of roughly 4,000 officers to ensure public safety, the department fields only around 3,000 officers.

Moreover, City leaders approved a budget of just $654 million for DPD this fiscal year, which is far less than the spending approved for police in other high-crime jurisdictions nationwide, such as Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago.

The Dallas Express, The People’s Paper, believes important information about the City, such as crime rates and trends, should be easily accessible. Dallas has more crime per capita than hotspots like Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, according to data from the FBI’s UCR database.

How did your area stack up on crime? Check out our interactive Crime Map to compare all Dallas City Council Districts. Curious how we got our numbers? Check out our methodology page here.

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