Federal authorities arrested 46 men on January 12 and 13 in an attempt to crack down on individuals purchasing sex from victims of trafficking, according to a news release.
The arrests were announced Friday by federal authorities. Among those arrested were a volunteer firefighter, a youth pastor, a high school football coach, and the director of operations for a large hospital network in North Texas.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas Supervisory Special Agent John Perez told The Dallas Express that the operation was aimed at combatting demand for commercial sex.
“The operation was driven and led to target those who wish to purchase and consume commercial sex and further victimize commercial sex workers who are in sex trafficking situations,” Perez said.
The joint agency operation highlights the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which brings awareness to human trafficking.
“Thwarting sex trafficking is one of our agency’s top priorities, one that every law enforcement office that has a role on the HSI Dallas-led North Texas Trafficking Task Force takes very seriously,” said Lester R. Hayes Jr., HSI Dallas special agent in charge, in a statement.
“By targeting those involved in this crime, we hope to disrupt this activity and provide assistance to human trafficking victims by getting them connected to the advocates and resources they need,” the statement read.
Multiple agencies across North Texas were involved in the operation.
The Dallas, Arlington, Colleyville, Flower Mound, Frisco, Irving, and Midlothian police departments, along with the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Dallas County District Attorney Investigators, and the Tarrant County Human Trafficking Task Force assisted in the operation.
No injuries were reported, and all suspects were taken into custody without incident. The suspects, who have not been named, could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.
“A lot of people think that purchasing commercial sex isn’t a big deal; they think that prostitution is a voluntary act where they think if a woman doesn’t want to be a prostitute, they can just walk away, where in actuality sex trafficking is a violent crime,” Perez explained to The Dallas Express.
“A lot of these women don’t have the option to just walk away. People don’t see the behind-the-scenes violence, the fraud, the coercion, a woman not being allowed to eat because she didn’t earn some quota that a trafficker set for her,” Perez said.
“These operations target that demand side because where there’s demand, there is always going to be supply, so if we only go after one side of the problem and don’t work with our state and local partners to counter every aspect of human trafficking, then we’ll never get anywhere in this fight,” said Perez.
The number of persons prosecuted for human trafficking increased from 729 in 2011 to 1,343 in 2020, an 84% increase.
The number of persons convicted of a federal human trafficking offense increased from 464 persons in 2011 to 837 persons in 2019 before falling in 2020 to 658 persons, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Dallas Police have already processed 19 cases of prostitution so far this year, according to the City of Dallas Open Data Crime Analytics dashboard.
Trafficking is just one subset of criminal activity affecting residents of Dallas, where the city council has neglected to make combatting crime a priority. Dallas trafficking offense reports rose by nearly 6% in 2022 compared to 2021.
Why aren’t the names released? The accusers seemed to be protected. They are not the victims. The possible punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. Thanks for highlighting the true problem and those that are financing and participating in these terrible act. Also, please don’t forget about young males are a target as well.
Well said until YOUR son or daughter are snatched off the street.
And it says absolutely NOTHING about who was arrested. You have almost zero information about traffickers, pimps, prostitutes or men and women who pay for their services who were arrested.
Give dead penalty for murderers and fo the others institute forced labor and caning.
Human trafficking does happen but it is a very small minority of the women who work in prostitution. The overwhelming majority of working girls are sole proprietors who are simply trying to make a decent living despite having no marketable skills.
Wake up! Or maybe you’re a trafficker?
Due to the increasing cost of living people nee do sell drugs and go into prostitution in order to feed the family and pay the exorbitant rent.
That’s not true Bill…
I’m glad to see that there are task forces to combat sex trafficking. It is the marginalized women and children who are the victims, and the sex traffickers and their Perpetrators should be convicted to the full extent of the law. I don’t think 2 years or $10,000 is a big enough consequence.
Due to the inability of our City Hall to control our utilities, taxes and exorbitant fines (ex:garbage fine is $261.) many citizens need to sell drugs and go into prostitution.
““These operations target that demand side because where there’s demand, there is always going to be supply, so if we only go after one side of the problem and don’t work with our state and local partners to counter every aspect of human trafficking, then we’ll never get anywhere in this fight,” said Perez.” Let’s apply this to illegal i mmigration also. Jail terms for those who knowingly hire illegals.
Let’s see the names of the people charged. Put them on a billboard for all to see.
I’d like to see the names of the ppl convicted of the crime, and I would like to see them serve longer than two years in prison. But I think when people are just charged with a crime, they should stay anonymous. Innocent until *proven* guilty.
This is very troubling. Hopefully these “patrons” of prostitution are publicly identified. A youth minister, football coach . . . how sickening.
Two years? For Human Trafficking? No wonder it still happens. There is IMPLIED kidnapping in Human Trafficking. Multiply by the number of victims and this showed be life sentences.