Baytown is a city within Harris County (with some areas in Chambers County) in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. It is located within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area and has approximately 82,017 residents. Prostitution activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Harris and Chambers counties. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in July, 2019 a Baytown man who pleaded guilty to forcing his teenage daughter to work as a prostitute was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was convicted of aggravated compelling of prostitution, a first-degree felony. Harris County prosecutors said the girl told authorities her father forced her into prostitution after he found out she was having sex with boys, telling her that if she was going to act like a prostitute then she might as well be one, according to a statement released by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The man made the girl work the tractor-trailer rigs parked at truck stops, offering sex in exchange for money that he then took from her. The girl said she had multiple customers each night. The man had previously been arrested in June 2015 after an undercover investigation by the Houston Child Exploitation Task Force. The investigation got help from an anonymous tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that the offender was “pimping” the girl, who was 16 at the time. The tip linked to an escort ad on the website BackPage.com, according to court records.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in undercover prostitution operation in Baytown led to the arrest of five men. Police say four of the alleged prostitutes were accompanied by other men when propositioning the detective. Those men were also arrested on drug related offenses and outstanding warrants. The names and charges for the suspects arrested were publicly released. The undercover operation was carried out by detectives from the Baytown Police Department with help from the department’s Hot Spot Team.
- Baytown Police Department
- Harris County Sheriff’s Office
- Harris County District Attorney’s Office
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.click2houston.com/news/baytown-prostitution-sting-nets-9-arrests (2018)
- https://www.nealdavislaw.com/blog/sex-crimes/prostitution-johns-sex-sting (2017)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://agendas.baytown.org/docs/2018/PACKET.pdf (2018)
- https://texaspolicenews.com/newsletter.category=66405 (2019)
- https://www.mysanantonio.com/Baytown-man-sentenced-daughter-prostitute-harris- (2019)
- https://abc13.com/news/dad-sentenced-for-forcing-teen-daughter-into-prostitution (2019)
- https://www.houstonpress.com/news/baytown-man-sentenced-to-30-years-for-forcing-daughter-into-prostitution (2019)