WACO, Texas (FOX 44/KWKT) — 19 Central Texas men have been arrested on felony charges during a Waco police sting operation, targeting those seeking services from prostitutes.
“This operation specifically targeted individuals who were soliciting prostitution and soliciting prostitution of minors. This type of behavior is just prevalent across the country,” shares Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian.
Chief Victorian says crimes like these increase at particular times of the year, highlighting the importance of conducting sting operations periodically.
“People say that this is a victimless crime. When essence it really isn’t a victimless crime because it impacts society. It impacts young people who are being trafficked or victimized by adults,” says Chief Victorian.
Multiple agencies, from Texas DPS to the McLennan and Limestone Counties’ Sheriff Offices, assisted in making the arrests. The agencies also seized a little over $1,500, 19 cell phones, 3.8 grams of marijuana, almost one gram of cocaine and four firearms.
Unbound Now is an organization that fights human trafficking. CEO and Founder Susan Peters weighed in on the sting operation, “For them to come together to combat human trafficking and really identify the buyers, and ultimately to get to the traffickers, is amazing. And to have made the change where they don’t arrest the victims is incredible.”
Alongside Chief Victorian, Peters believes prostitution is not a victimless crime.
“I just would want to expose that myth that people do not choose this as a lifestyle, their vulnerabilities, and then someone taking advantage of them and then as a community. As law enforcement partners, were saying ‘Not in my city.’ We are not going to allow people to sell other human beings for their profit.”