AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Amarillo Police Department (APD) reported that the human trafficking operation run through the Special Operations Division Narcotics Unit led to 27 arrests over Aug. 10 through Aug. 12. More arrests are expected from some ongoing investigations.

The APD said that the arrests were made for various charges relating to prostitution, with some additional unrelated charges. Agents were reported to interview all those arrested for prostitution in an effort to identify human trafficking victims. Agents are also noted to ask those arrested about others being trafficked, and any knowledge of underage victims.

“The Amarillo Police Department recognizes that human trafficking is a very real problem in Amarillo.” said the APD, “The victims in these cases deserve to be treated like human beings and not property.”

Beginning Sept. 1, the APD said the criminal penalty for Solicitation of Prostitution on a first time offense will be a State Jail Felony, increasing from a Class B misdemeanor.