A total of 46 men were arrested in a sex trafficking bust in North Texas, local and federal officials announced Monday.
Nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies participated in the massive undercover sting operation earlier this month at Hilton and Hyatt hotels near Dallas, where suspects had allegedly planned with undercover agents to meet and pay for sex, the Dallas Morning News reported. A youth pastor, an operations director of a large hospital network, a teacher and football coach were among those reportedly arrested, the outlet reported.
“When you think of trafficking, you think of streets in Dallas or Fort Worth or strip clubs,” Agent John Perez of the North Texas Trafficking Task Force, part of Homeland Security Investigations, told the Dallas Morning News. “But there’s a lot of demand in the suburbs.” (RELATED: REPORT: Escort Service Is Sending Women To Davos At The Request Of Attendees)
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) January 23, 2023
“The victims of these heinous crimes are treated like commodities, used to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. Those who traffic victims are the scourge of the earth, and we will continue to target those responsible for the trafficking and those who solicit sex from them,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said in a statement, the outlet reported.
Homeland Security Investigations Dallas Special Agent in Charge Lester R. Hayes told WFAA that stopping sex trafficking is one of the agency’s top priorities. “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,” Hayes told the outlet.
This sting marks the second commercial sex sting operation in North Texas in just the past few months. In September, police arrested 23 individuals for solicitation of prostitution following an investigation into short-term rentals, another report from the Dallas Morning News stated.
While the names of those arrested have not been released, the men face felony charges of solicitation of prostitution — a penalty that carries with it up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.