Fourteen people were arrested during a two-day sex trafficking and prostitution sting. According to the Temple Police Department and Bell County Sheriff’s Department total of “12 John’s” were arrested on March 13-14 for agreeing to engage in sexual acts for free. Six of the twelve were active-duty enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood. Fort Hood is located in Killeen, Texas, halfway between Waco and Austin.
Two females were arrested for prostitution, which is a class A misdemeanor. The two females were also on probation for felony narcotics charges. Aware Central Texas, a civilian agency that advocates for and provides resources to victims of sex trafficking, also assisted in the operation.
Sgt. Michael Bolton, TPD Violent Crime Enforcement Squad, released a statement about the situation, thanking Bell County Sheriff’s Department and Aware Central Texas for helping in the operation. He noted, “This operation hopefully sends a message that these acts will not be tolerated in our city and our county. Temple PD will continue to vigilantly fight against sex trafficking while protecting those who are victimized by this industry.”
Authorities stated a total of eleven victims of sex trafficking were identified and provided resources by Aware Central Texas. There are expected to be additional charges forthcoming for a person identified for sex trafficking and possibly “forcing women into this lifestyle.” The Bell County Sheriff and Temple Police Department will continue to be proactive in combating any sex trafficking in the Central Texas Region.
This isn’t the first time Fort Hood received allegations of sexual harassment. Just this week, authorities announced the discovery of human remains, believed to be missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen. Guillen went missing on April 22nd and confined in family members that she was being sexually harassed by a sergeant who was at the military base. Two months after her disappearance, Fort Hood officials launched an investigation in the 20-year-old soldier’s claims.
In 2015, Army 1st Sgt. Gregory McQueen pleaded guilty to over a dozen military charges, after establishing a prostitution ring at Fort Hood. According to the Associated Press, McQueen had admitted to recruiting three low ranking female soldiers into the ring. McQueen, who had previously worked as a victim’s advocate on the base itself, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, was demoted and dishonorably discharged.