Beaumont, TX

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Cameras
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
Letters
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Beaumont is a city a Southeastern Texas city, located in Jefferson County, TX, and has a population of roughly 117,000 residents. Prostitution is a persistent and visible problem in the area, generating complaints to police from businesses and residents. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include sex trafficking and targeted assaults on prostituted women. For example, in 2018, the Beaumont Police Department and with assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a year-long sex trafficking investigation into a local massage parlor after officials discovered prostitution advertisements referencing the spa on Backpage.com. According to officials, video surveillance captured numerous men entering and exiting the building within 20-to-60-minute time periods. Officials reported that within the year-long investigation, not once was a female seen entering or exiting the building. Officials executed a search warrant after gathering sufficient evidence that prostitution and sex trafficking activity was occurring at the spa. Additionally, officers questioned three men seen entering and exiting the building, who officials stopped for traffic violations, regarding their experience at the spa. All three men admitted to engaging in sexual acts with spa employees. The investigation is ongoing and is considered and the business is believed to be a cover for organized crime, prostitution, and human trafficking. According to the BPD Sergeant, anyone who has visited the spa within the year of 2018, has been caught on camera, and further investigations are to take place.

There have also been local cases of sex trafficking of children that have involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), or “child pornography” in many legal codes. For example, in June, 2022, a United States Attorney announced the resolution of a case in Texas involving prostitution, sex trafficking of minors, and the production and use of CSAM. Evidence was presented revealing that in November, 2020, an offender was recruiting minor females to engage in prostitution (i.e., sex trafficking of minors) and began communicating with a 14-year-old girl in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The offender and an accomplice were well aware when he began communicating with her that she was a minor, but still pursued her and tried to convince her that she would profit by engaging in prostitution through them.  Both defendants took the minor victim to a hotel in Beaumont, Texas and introduced her to a 16-year-old sex trafficking victims who was also being sexually exploited by them. The traffickers took photographs of both minor girls and the other prostituted persons they were exploiting and posted them on an Instagram account as an advertisement, along with a visible geo tag showing those who saw the advertisement where to go to engage in sexual acts with the girls. When the minor victim’s grandmother realized that she had run away from home, she began looking at the child’s social media accounts and found the communications between her granddaughter and the offenders, and reported it to law enforcement. One of the traffickers was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison, the other to three years, and followed by five years of federal probation.

To combat these crimes and other negative local impacts of the sex trade, county and local agencies have adopted aggressive and comprehensive approaches to identify and apprehend sex buyers. The Beaumont Police Department has conducted at least five street-level reverse sting operations, if not more, to identify and apprehend sex buyers. Operations have centered around 11th street, where commercial sex sales are said to occur frequently. For example, in October of 2014, police arrested six male buyers in the area using female undercover officers as decoys. Arrestees’ names and photos were not released to the media. Web-based reverse stings are also frequently conducted by local law enforcement. For example, in 2019, the Beaumont Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Unit conducted a web-based sting focused on targeting demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking in the area. According to reports, undercover officers posted decoy advertisements for prostitution online, that resulted in numerous individuals responded and agreed to meet undercover officers at the hotel room and pay for sexual intercourse. On the day of the sting, six male sex buyers arrived at the hotel, all who were arrested by undercover officers and transported to the Jefferson County Jail on prostitution charges. The offenders’ identities, photos, ages, locations, and charges were included in reports from local news sources. In 2020, the Beaumont Police Department and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office conducted a joint operation targeting sex buyers and sex traffickers within the area. The operation resulted in the arrest of 21 male sex buyers allegedly accused of soliciting sexual relations from both minors and adults. According to an officer from the Beaumont Police Department, the anti-sex trafficking operation’s purpose was to reduce the demand and deter people from purchasing sex,

“Sex trafficking is fueled by the demand that these buyers provide. Without men who are willing to purchase sex, traffickers and pimps would not exploit victims.”

In 2021, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, conducted a two-day joint prostitution and sex trafficking operation, focused on rescuing victims of sex trafficking in addition to apprehending their exploiters. As a result of the investigation, two sex traffickers were identified, resulting in the arrest of one, and an ongoing investigation into the second sex trafficker. Five male sex buyers were charged with prostitution, and three were charged with solicitation of a person under the age of 18. Additionally, five victims of sex trafficking were rescued. The identities, photos, ages, and charges of arrested offenders were included in reports from local news sources.

Loss of Employment:

Loss of employment are consequences of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in 2008, two Beaumont police officers and their supervisors were investigated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department after the two officers were accused of engaging in sex acts during an undercover prostitution investigation at a local massage parlor. The accusations resulted in the immediate and indefinite suspension of the two officers, both without pay. In addition, the supervising lieutenant of the sex crimes unit was also indefinitely suspended without pay. The narcotics supervisor and a member of the narcotics unit, both of whom were not involved in the day-to-day investigations, were suspended for a period of five days for, “failing to notify top officials that sex was occurring in pursuit of a felony prostitution case involving possible human trafficking.”

In February, 2018, a local news station (12 News) terminated its Sports Director following his arrest for solicitation of prostitution during a sting by the Beaumont Police Department. The man was accused of using a dating app to set up a meeting at a motel on 11th Street, where Beaumont Police arrested him. The man posted a $2,500 bond for solicitation of prostitution and was released from jail.

Neighborhood Action:

There has been some activity initiated by residents that that focused on deterring sex buyers. In October of 2013, media outlets reported that some city residents had begun to take collective action to reduce prostitution within their communities. In the Beaumont Avenues neighborhood, particularly along College Street, the publisher of the Spanish-language newspaper, La Voz, was using the newspaper to expose the problem of street prostitution. The publisher began taking photographs and video of the activity and encouraging residents and businesses to report to police. He argued that reason prostitution exists in the Avenues is because there’s a demand for commercial sex in the area, and by letting those in the area know he’s watching and furthermore, publicizing the illicit behavior, the demand for commercial sex from sex buyers will decrease or stop altogether.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

  • “Undercover Prostitution Sting Nets 15 Individuals; Investigation Centered around Old Town and the Avenues”, Beaumont Enterprise, May 5 2006.
  • “Beaumont Police Arrest 14 in Prostitution Sting; Officers Focus on College, 11th Streets”, Beaumont Enterprise, August 31 2006.
  • “Prostitution Sweep Nets 8 Suspects”, Beaumont Enterprise, August 17 2007.
  • “Sting Operation on 11th Street in Beaumont Nets 15 Sex Offense Arrests; Police Target 11th Street near Interstate 10, Other Areas in Response to Complaints from Residents”, Beaumont Enterprise, January 4 2007.
  • “Man Arrested After Fleeing During Prostitution Sting Operation”, KDFM-FM 103.3, February 7 2008.
  • “Police Chase down Man after Prostitution Sting”, Beaumont Enterprise, February 7 2008.
  • “Beaumont Police Arrest 9 for Prostitution”, Beaumont Enterprise, October 24 2014.

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Loss of Employment:

Cameras:

Neighborhood Action:

Child Endangerment:

  • “Day-Long Prostitution Sting Nets 18 Arrests; Police Follow Complaints, Knowledge that Women Work with Drug Dealers”, Beaumont Enterprise, August 26, 2010.

Background on Prostitution & Related Crimes in the Area:

Local Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Texas
Type City
Population 117321
Location
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