Undercover operations lead to 9 sex trafficking suspects to be identified in Greater Houston area

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Fort Bend Co. sting operation identifies 17 human trafficking victims
Months-long undercover operations aimed to combat human trafficking in Fort Bend County led officials to identify 17 victims, including one juvenile girl.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Nine suspects and several human trafficking victims, including one juvenile, have been identified after investigators conducted undercover operations for two months, Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office announced on Monday.

In August and September, Fort Bend County collaborated with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance to conduct several operations.

In total, county officials said the operations resulted in 31 charges being filed, 9 suspects and 17 victims identified, including 15 adult women, one adult man and one juvenile girl.

The charges included compelling, promoting, and soliciting prostitution, trafficking of a person, and gun or drug-related charges.

Officials said "Operation Heatwave" was a buyer-suppression operation conducted on Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 in Sugar Land.

The operation identified and led to the arrests of those intending to buy sex.

Commonly known as "johns", they create the demand for human trafficking and contribute to the pervasive problem the community faces from these crimes, according to Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton.

"Operation Sapphire" was a victim-recovery operation conducted on Sept. 14 through Sept. 16 in Meadows Place.

The operation focused on individuals engaged in human trafficking and identifying human trafficking victims.

Because of the undercover operation, nine traffickers and the 17 victims were identified.

"Our law enforcement officers and partnering agencies taking part in these operations made a significant impact in the sex-trafficking trade right here in Fort Bend County. Whether in a residential neighborhood or commercial establishment, we are watching. And once we have the evidence to act upon, we will come for you. Fort Bend County is, and will continue to be, one the safest places to live because of operations like these. We are setting the tone - do not come to Fort Bend County to commit crime," Middleton said.