United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson has announced that three defendants charged in a domestic sex trafficking case have been convicted in Houston.
The three men entered guilty pleas Oct. 5 before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes. All were convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. The convictions were part of Operation Total Exposure, the single largest domestic sex trafficking case in the history of the Southern District of Texas, said a release from Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office.
Texas Baptists and other believers in the state are mobilizing to combat all forms of human trafficking, and those efforts have included education efforts with law enforcement officers and other workers in the criminal justice system. It’s paying off.
Regular citizens can help in this effort by being on the lookout for questionable businesses. The Houston case indicates some of the enterprises that are suspect.
Court records indicated the defendants operated commercialized sex businesses often disguised as modeling studios, health spas, massage parlors and bikini bars in Houston, the news release said. Further testimony proved they also utilized sexually oriented publications and websites to advertise their illicit business.
Evidence revealed the conspirators recruited women and minors as young as 16 to work as prostitutes and perform commercial sex acts. Members of the criminal enterprise transported women and minors to and from the Houston area and had ties to Kansas, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.
These businesses are selling sex, but there is violence behind the scenes. The women were routinely beaten and threatened in order to instill fear in them and to insure their obedience. Some of the Houston co-conspirators also had sexual intercourse with the minor females. Any proceeds the women received as a result of their sexual encounters where taken by the members of the enterprise, rendering them dependent upon the defendants for basic necessities.
It’s a dirty, violent business. We can all be thankful that prosecutors, law enforcement, churches, and church members are fighting it.