Law enforcement and gang members have been arrested in a human trafficking operation called “Operation Freedom”
District Attorney Brian Middleton said two juvenile victims and five adult victims were recovered in the effort.
Three arrests for compelling prostitution, three for promotion of prostitution, 24 arrests of men for buying sex, 11 arrests for narcotics charges, three arrests for miscellaneous charges that included fraud, forgery and evading and failure to identify. Approximately $2,600 was seized in money and vehicles.
“The investigating of human trafficking is very time consuming, the perpetrators are very sophisticated,” Fort Bend County District Attorney Bryan Middleton said during Friday morning’s press conference. “It requires a lot of work, and a lot of effort to investigate and prosecute these crimes.”
Charges filed over the course of this operation included promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution, various narcotics charges, evading, fraud, forgery and failure to identify.
“Human trafficking routinely happens in plain sight, it affects all demographic levels, races, religions, and social economic levels,” Middleton said. “It’s not just a city problem.”
At least four “criminal gang members” were also among the 64 people arrested in the sweep, Thompson said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.
“The grooming process, the recruiting process happens on social media. It happens on Instagram, it happens on Facebook, it happens on KIK messenger, it happens on Whats App,” Rudoff said. “I can’t even begin to name the number of apps that these individuals are targeting.”
Rudoff added that sex-traffickers do not discriminate.
“Our victims are not of one social class, they’re not of one nationality, they’re not of one demographic. They come from two parent households, one parent household, educated household, blue-collar household, they come from all kinds of backgrounds,” she said.
They are being targeted and recruited through social media. This happens in plain sight.
More charges and arrests are expected with further investigation, authorities said.