Harris County leads the nation in arrests made during major prostitution sting

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Harris County reportedly arrested the most “johns” in a nationwide prostitution sting running from Jan. 7 through Feb. 4.

Along with 30 other law enforcement agencies, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office participated in the 15th National Johns Suppression Initiative to reduce sex trafficking.

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According to sting coordinator HCSO Vice Commander Jesse Inocencio, they had female officers pose as prostitutes.

Officers placed ads on social media for sex, then set up the female officers at nine local hotels. When men arrived at the hotel and agreed to pay for sex, they were arrested.

Across Harris County, a total of 103 johns, or people accused of paying for sex, were arrested as part of the sting.

“This should be a notice to sex buyers out there,” Inocencio said, according to KHOU. “That you may just find your mug shot on the 5 o’clock news.”

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Authorities across Harris County have turned their attention to catching johns in recent years, rather than arresting sex workers, who are likely to be victims of sex trafficking.

“It’s a trend to shift a focus on the demand,” Captain Inocencio told the Houston Chronicle. “We understand with the trafficking problem, there’s a victimization there. Sometimes it’s a victim of circumstance. If we can reduce the demand side, we’re helping the victims.”

The Houston Police Department made 64 additional arrests.

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All of the suspects will be charged with prostitution, while some face additional charges for drugs or evading arrest.

This is the second year in a row that Harris County has garnered the most arrests.

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