Crime Stats Note Increase in Prostitution, Sex Trafficking

Female prostitute in stockings on the street. | Image by M-Production/Shutterstock

Dallas has seen a substantial increase in prostitution-related offenses in 2023, however, the number of human trafficking offenses related to commercial sex remains relatively low.

According to the City of Dallas Open Data victim demographics dashboard, there have only been 31 reports of such human trafficking offenses as of September 1. Still, there has been a 14.8% increase compared to the first eight months of 2022. About 93% of victims were women or girls, ranging in age from 11 to 50, and 75% were either black or Hispanic. Almost two-thirds of the offenses occurred in northwestern Dallas.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, prostitution-related offenses skyrocketed within the Dallas Police Department’s Northwest Patrol Division, making the jurisdiction ground zero for the city’s illegal commercial sex trade. More than 460 have been logged by authorities in 2023.

The Dallas Express reached out to DPD and asked about the significant differential between the running offense counts.

“Prostitution and its companion offenses (Promotion of Prostitution, Compelling Prostitution) and Human Trafficking (Trafficking of Persons, Human Smuggling, Labor Trafficking) are separate offenses in the Penal Code. Therefore, the offenses each have a distinct set of elements that must be met in order to complete an offense report and/or arrest for those offenses,” said Kristin Lowman, assistant director of media relations for DPD, in an email to The Dallas Express.

According to the Texas Penal Code, elements like coercion, getting a victim intoxicated, confiscating identification documents, or threatening to withhold controlled substances from a victim with drug dependency issues appear in the statute.

“An investigation must be conducted to determine what is the appropriate charge in each case. Additionally, when looking at crime numbers, DPD must follow [Texas Department of Public Safety] and FBI policies and standards when classifying offenses as Prostitution or Human Trafficking,” said Lowman.

According to Htcourts.org, which maintains information on human trafficking shelters and anti-trafficking organizations, “[t]he Dallas-Fort Worth region accounts for 35% of the state’s commercial sexual exploitation cases even though they only have 26% of the state’s entire population.”

DPD has been drastically understaffed in recent years, only employing about 3,100 officers at present. This is far below the 4,000 recommended by a City report that claims a city the size of Dallas needs about three officers for every 1,000 residents.

The shortage has been especially felt in Downtown Dallas, where much higher crime rates are logged compared to the downtown area of Fort Worth. The latter is patrolled by a dedicated police unit and private security officers.

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