CONROE, Texas — Six females, including a 16-year-old, were identified as victims of human trafficking after a two-week sting in the Kingwood area.
Seventy-nine people were arrested in the multi-agency crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution called Operation Labour.
Houston police say they spent the first week identifying victims -- women forced, tricked or coerced into sex slavery.
”They’ve been brainwashed, they’ve been threatened, they’ve been physically abused," HPD Sgt. John Wall said.
Court documents show that police scoured websites known for human trafficking and prostitution and used undercover officers to arrange “dates” with the women, arresting them in hopes of finding them help.
”We know that many of those advertised on illicit websites are victims," Sgt. Wall said.
The second week, undercover officers lured those attempting to buy sex, also known as "johns."
"If you’re going to attempt to buy sex in Montgomery County, you’re going to be caught and you’re going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent," said Montgomery County DA Tyler Dunman. "You will walk away with a conviction if you attempt to buy sex.”
Thirty-seven men were charged with prostitution and another, Javonte Harris, was charged with felony promotion of prostitution.
Thirty-four females were charged with prostitution, Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson said. Eight additional arrests were made different offenses such as drugs and weapons charges.
Investigators said a 2-year-old child was also recovered from a vehicle during one arrest and placed with family members.
The sting is part of an ongoing effort to help trafficking victims who are often moved from town to town.
”We know from experience that victims don’t come forward. The more we look, the more we find, and so we want to continue these types of operations, because that’s the only way we’re going to rescue these people from human slavery," Sgt. Wall said.
Investigators hope this investigation will lead to other victims and perpetrators.
“These proactive operations will continue in an effort to deter individuals from purchasing sexual acts from women, especially those women placed into situations by force or coercion,” the sheriff said. “The demand for illicit sexual acts must be addressed to stop human trafficking.”
The following men were charged with prostitution:
- Ismael Anzaldua, 27
- Peter Arias, 61
- Sameeh Asasfeh, 42
- Grady Bolton, 70
- Brandon Collins, 36
- Aaron Cook, 35
- Andre Devine, 27
- Noah Fegley, 23
- Morales Francisco, 29
- Armando Garza, 30
- Victor Glasper, 35
- Ruben Gonzalez, 41
- Dandre Hart, 22
- Ismael Hernandez, 54
- Julio Hernandez, 40
- Maximiliano Hernandez, 25
- Azahel Hernandez, 34
- Daniel Hodges, 41
- Scott Manson, 51
- Jose Martinez, 42
- Jesse Martinez, 29
- William McDaniel, 63
- Eskinder Mekuria, 44
- Jose Melecio, 59
- Jay Mistry, 26
- Baron Oneal, 26
- Yesid Remirez, 53
- Christopher Renko, 39
- Jaromey Roberts, 54
- Anthony Scott, 27
- Denton Sorrels, 36
- Adonis Stephens, 35
- Elmer Tejada, 19
- Anthony Valdez, 55
- Jen-Lin Wang, 30
- Richard Snider, 25
- Joshua Landry, 32
The sheriff’s office said Operation Labour was a joint operation with:
- Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
- Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office
- Houston Police Department
- Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constables Office
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
- Numerous non-profit organizations
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