Human trafficking is the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking has been around since mankind, but it has become the forefront of law enforcement. Sheriff Tracy Murphree implemented a Human Trafficking Investigation Unit in October of 2021. As of today, the unit consists of a Sergeant and five Investigators whose sole purpose is to detect and investigate Human Trafficking. The unit receives specialized training and coordinates with other local, state, and federal agencies to detect, investigate and make arrests of those involved in the trafficking of human beings.
Recently, The Denton County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Unit conducted a Prostitution Demand Suppression Operation in conjunction with Tarrant County, The Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Attorney General’s Office, and the Lewisville Police Department. The operation lead to seventeen suspects being arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution, a State Jail Felony. What does this operation entail? In this specific operation, an officer posed as a prostitute and arranged to meet at a location with a “John” (the customer). When the “John” arrived at the location, they were arrested. These individuals who engage in this activity don’t have a specific race, religion, or demographic – in fact, they come from all walks of life, and the Sheriff’s mission is to make it known that they are not welcomed in Denton County and in the entire metroplex.
Sheriff Tracy Murphree knows this is just one of many ways to combat the demand of persons who seek out these victims for self-gratification, and he will continue to cooperate with law enforcement partners to host more operations to end this plague.
*If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the US National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or call Denton County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-388-TIPS. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.