Harris County Receives $4.4 Million to Crack Down on Sex Trafficking and Violent Crime

Harris County recently obtained significant funding towards cracking down on sex trafficking. A major sting operation in Polk County recently netted 277 arrests related to human trafficking. More emphasis is being placed on arresting and charging “pimps” and “johns,” or those who solicit prostitution, rather than the prostitutes themselves.

$4.4 Million in Grants for Harris County

The State of Texas has awarded Harris County, which includes Houston, grants of $4.4 million to increase services for victims of sex trafficking and violent crime. Made up of four different grants, the money from the Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Division provides funds for victim resources and to increase the county’s ability to crack down on sex buyers and traffickers.

  • $1 million will be directed to increased prosecution, and victim and referral services. If an adult is arrested on prostitution charges, the county can refer the individual to a resource instead of jail time.
  • $3 million is for victims of crimes against people and allows the doubling of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Division staff.
  • $400,000 will go toward increased prosecution and victim services for people affected by domestic violence.
  • These grants, which were announced at the Children’s Assessment Center specializing in treating sexually abused children, will be issued over two years.

Harris County is likely planning future events similar to the “National Johns Suppression Initiative” using funds from these grants, in an attempt to force a decline in demand for prostitution.

Are you or a loved one facing prostitution charges in Texas?
Contact prostitution attorney Matthew Sharp today 

The Results of Cracking Down on Human Trafficking and Prostitution Crimes

To show you a few numbers, here are the statistics from a Polk County, TX sting operation and the difference in charges from 2016 to 2017 in Harris County.

  • A Polk County sting operation, which lasted for a week, led to 277 arrests related to online prostitution and human trafficking.
  • In 2016 Harris County filed 1405 charges against women and sex sellers, and only 708 charges were filed against buyers. In 2017, 971 charges for buyers were filed and only 820 women and sellers were charged.

While solicitation of prostitution is illegal in the State of Texas, it is a Class B Misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 180 days in jail, probation, house arrest, or community service, plus up to $2,000 in fines. With the new emphasis on battling human sex trafficking, you may run the risk of being charged with a felony sex crime, which can result in significant prison time (around 20 years), high cash penalties (up to $10,000 or more), and a felony conviction that makes you permanently ineligible for a variety of jobs and activities.

Contact a Houston Prostitution Lawyer for Legal Guidance

If you are arrested for soliciting prostitution as a john or client, it’s possible you could be swept up in the rush to increase arrests for sex trafficking, a much more serious charge that could result in a felony and substantial prison time instead of a few days in jail and a relatively small fine for committing a misdemeanor.

If you are facing solicitation of prostitution or sex trafficking charges, hire an expert to defend yourself in a case. Call the Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp. We will prepare a defense to protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly and according to the law, and not rushed into prosecution and punishment for a crime you did not commit.

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