PHOTOS: 103 'johns' arrested in sting, Harris County deputies say

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

More than 100 people were arrested during a monthlong initiative in Harris County aimed at cracking down on those who buy sex, authorities announced Wednesday.

The operation that ran from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4 was part of the 15th National Johns Suppression Initiative, deputies said. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office was among more than 30 law enforcement agencies across the country that participated.

During the operation, authorities said, Harris County's Vice Unit placed ads offering sex for money on social media sites and then staged undercover officers at nine hotels throughout Harris County. "Johns," in other words people who are accused of paying for sex, were arrested when they showed up at the hotels and offered the undercover officers money, authorities said.

MUGS: More than 100 arrests in sex buyer bust

According to deputies, Harris County made 103 arrests during the initiative, which leads the nation. A total of 638 arrests were made across the country.

Deputies said all 103 of those arrested in Harris County were charged with prostitution and some were also charged with drug crimes. One person was also charged with evading arrest and another was charged with interfering with official duties, deputies said.

Deputies said they are shifting their attention to people who buy sex, saying most of those who sell sex are victims of human trafficking.

Harris County prosecutors said they will aggressively litigate cases against those accused of buying sex. Those convicted of the crime can expect jail time and probation instead of a pretrial intervention class, prosecutors said.

The goal of the crackdown is to end the demand for prostitution that is driving human trafficking in Houston, authorities said.

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