RICHMOND, Texas – Dozens of people involved in human trafficking in Fort Bend County have been arrested and charged in a sting, authorities said.
According to authorities, “Operation Patriot” took place over four days in September and was a collaborative effort between 23 agencies and resulted in the rescue of five victims and 46 arrests.
The sting was broken into two missions, one in Missouri City and the other in Stafford. Undercover officers were able to identify and arrest several “johns” and suspected human traffickers, according to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office.
WATCH LIVE: Officials give update after 46 arrests, 5 rescues in Fort Bend County during ‘massive’ human trafficking sting
WATCH LIVE: Officials give update after 46 arrests, 5 rescues in Fort Bend County during ‘massive’ human trafficking sting, More: https://bit.ly/2SBRsBkPosted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Wednesday, October 7, 2020
According to Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton, the sting took “huge strides in eliminating the sex-trafficking trade in our county” in just a few days.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. To anybody in our viewership who is engaged in human trafficking, we will find you and we will arrest you,” Middleton said Wednesday during a press conference. “And in our pursuit of justice, we will be relentless.”
Middleton also thanked the other agencies who helped with the operation.
“Without the efforts of all these people working together, this would not have been possible,” he said.
Claire Andersen, Fort Bend County Assistant District Attorney, called human trafficking “modern-day slavery that preys on the most vulnerable, particularly children and young adults.”
“The focus on identifying and arresting sex buyers combatted the ‘demand’ side of human trafficking while the operation simultaneously worked to eliminate the ‘supply’ side,'” Andersen said.
According to authorities, six people were charged with the promotion of prostitution and 32 people were charged with the intent to engage in prostitution by buying within the county. Authorities said no minors were involved during this investigation.
While officials agreed that the operation was a success, they also agree that more work needs to be done.
Officials said the number of people arrested in such a short amount of time shows just how serious the issue is in Fort Bend County.
KPRC 2 Digital Content Producer Erica Ponder contributed to this report.