“Operation Trick or Treat” was a two-day investigation conducted in the Sugar Land area on Oct. 20-21, executed by the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office and Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.
The operation lead to the arrest of 26 alleged sex buyers, also known as “johns”, court documents show all the defendants are men and were charged with state jail felony offense of prostitution payor.
“Some (of the individuals) arrested are Fort Bend residents and some are not,” said Wes Wittig, Assistant Fort Bend County District Attorney. “(It) makes no difference to us, because offenders will travel to commit the crime. We want to create an environment in Fort Bend County hostile to human traffickers and those willing to come here to pay for sex acts.”
The massive success of Operation Trick or Treat was due to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies coming together with the common goal of ridding the streets of illegal and illicit activity.
The crackdown on sex buyers is strategic, said Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton. “By targeting the demand, we’re addressing the root of the problem,” Middleton said. “Victims who are being trafficked are not the problem. It’s the people who are paying for sex and victimizing these individuals that we’re out to get.”
Their goal is to be proactive, all the sex buyers should know that every day there’s an investigation in Fort Bend County and it’s only a matter of time before they get caught, said Middleton.
The crime of sex buying is a state jail felony in Texas following the passage of House Bill 1540 and Senate Bill 1036 in the 87th legislative session. In Texas, a sex buyer conviction carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.