Bexar County, TX

Tactics Used

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

Bexar County is located in southern Texas and has a population of approximately 2 million. The county seat and most populous city, San Antonio, TX, has a population of over 1.5 million residents within city limits. Due to the county’s location, prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by community leaders and law enforcement agencies as substantial problems in the county, and have been for decades.  San Antonio, TX is one of the destination locations in what is known as the Texas Triangle. The Texas Triangle is located in the heart of Texas, with the metro areas of HoustonDallasFort Worth, and San Antonio acting as the Triangle’s vertices. The three destination cities are connected through Interstate 35, Interstate 45, and Interstate 10. These highways are popular routes for travel as individuals can easily move between the highly populated cities for either business or leisure. The county’s position at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Interstate 10 significantly contributes to the amount of prostitution and sex trafficking activity within the county. Among the more serious issues associated with the commercial sex market in the county is child sex trafficking. For example, in 2013, a former Spurs player and his girlfriend were arrested amongst five other individuals for kidnapping and sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl. According to reports, the victim had escaped in Corpus Christi and reported the incident to local officials. The former Spurs player was charged with sexual performance of a child, trafficking of persons under 18 for prostitution and sexual assault of a child. The arrests and charges were the result of a three-month investigation by the Bexar County Human Trafficking Task Force and Immigration Customs Enforcement Human Trafficking Unit.

Other crimes commonly associated with prostitution in Bexar County are drug and weapons offenses.  For example, in June, 2022, a sting operation targeting prostitution and human trafficking resulted in the arrests of 61 people in four counties. Nine suspects were arrested in Kerr County, 12 in Kendall County, 14 in Guadalupe County, and 24 in Bexar County on charges involving prostitution, narcotics, and weapons. Two stolen handguns were recovered, and heroin and methamphetamine were seized. The human trafficking recovery operation resulted in 11 potential victims being contacted. Homicides of prostituted women and men, as well as cases of prostitution-related child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) have also occurred within the County. In August, 2016, three people were arrested and charged in connection with sex trafficking a minor. The suspects were accused of trafficking a 16-year-old, forcing her to have sex with men for money, food, and drugs. A DPS special agent said nude photos of the teen were found on a cell phone and the pictures were used to find men who wanted to pay to sexually abuse the minor. Charges included prostitution, drug, and child pornography offenses.

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is home to the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force which is responsible for all sex related human trafficking cases presented to the office for review and prosecution. They are also responsible for the analysis, assessment, review, and indictment of these types of cases. From January to September of 2020, local law enforcement filed 43 human trafficking and related cases with the unit. Of that number, only 17 cases were specifically charged as sex trafficking or compelling prostitution. No cases of labor trafficking were filed. The other cases include crimes like Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution, Prostitution with a Child, Sexual Assault of Child, Employment Harmful to Children, Kidnapping, Sexual Performance by a Child, and Online Solicitation of a Minor. When there is a commercial aspect to the sexual conduct, these cases are handled by Bexar County District Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Unit. Local law enforcement and media outlets have reported cases of targeted assaults and homicides committed against those who sell sex.

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Among their efforts to address prostitution and related crimes, law enforcement has incorporated tactics that focus on underlying demand for commercial sex, such as reverse stings. In addition, officials frequently release the identities of arrested sex buyers. For example, in the first known street-level reverse sting in 1991, six male sex buyers were arrested and their identities were released by police to local media outlets. The men were charged with soliciting prostitution and bonds were set at $400. Officials have also been known to impound the vehicles of arrested sex buyers. For example, as a result of a street-level reverse sting conducted in 2012, called Operation Polar Bexar, 62 male sex buyers were arrested and 47 vehicles were impounded in under nine hours. Participating agencies included the San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. In May of 2018, six men were arrested on misdemeanor charges of prostitution in addition to having their cars impounded in a reverse prostitution sting where undercover SAPD Vice Unit officers approached the men in their vehicles. The SAPD Vice Unit stated that this specific operation focused on arresting buyers as opposed to prostitutes themselves, as a form of tackling the demand for commercial sex in Bexar County. Photos and names of the men arrested were also posted online.

Law enforcement has also been known to conduct street-level and web-based reverse stings simultaneously. For example, in January of 2013, a street-level and web-based reverse sting operation called, “Operation Blue Ice,” resulted in the arrest of 46 suspected male sex buyers on the city’s South Side. Amongst the arrested offenders were a local middle school teacher, a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office employee, and an on-duty EMT who sought to sexually exploit a 15-year-old in exchange for money. The operation consisted of over 100 law enforcement officials and was led by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2021, a web-based reverse sting led by the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Kerrville Police Department, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, resulted in the arrest of eight male sex buyers from San Antonio. Six sex buyers were charged with soliciting prostitution and two sex buyers were charged with online solicitation of a minor. As of September 1st, 2021, soliciting prostitution is a state jail felony in Texas.

Additional demand reduction tactics such as SOAP (Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution) Orders and neighborhood action have been document in the city of San Antonio and Bexar County. For example, in 1991, a neighborhood campaign against sex buying was initiated by the group, “Mahncke Park and West Fort Alliance Citizen Patrol.” Residents took photos of sex buyers in cars, recorded license plate numbers, and sent the photos and information to city and county police. The group was also reported to have sent letters to the wives of the men soliciting sex in their neighborhood. In a statement from a then-SAPD vice sergeant, residents were focused on reducing demand by targeting sex buyers in the city,

“What they’re doing has been effective in other areas. It’s harassment. ‘If we take away the customers, the business will die’ is the philosophy behind it.”

As a result of the significant amount of residential complaints, Bexar County deputies increased their presence and number of patrols in areas known for prostitution and related activities.

Loss of Employment:

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex in the county. For example, as a result of their arrest during the 2013 operation, “Operation Blue Ice”, a Northeast Independent School District (NEISD) middle school teacher and a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office employee were suspended or terminated from their employment. A spokesperson for NEISD stated that the former teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave and an investigation was opened with the district’s human resources department following his arrest. According to the then-Bexar County Sheriff, the former Bexar County civilian employee, who worked the front desk at the sheriff’s office, “is no longer with us.” In 2016, a former detention officer with the Bexar County Jail was dismissed from employment after allegedly soliciting sex from a woman who was being held on a felony prostitution warrant, amongst additional charges. The investigation was initiated after the offender’s son and two women were arrested after a brief standoff outside his far west Bexar County home. The former detention officer called deputies to the home around 2 a.m. on April 10th, 2016, after his son got into an altercation with a woman later identified as his girlfriend. The offender’s son fired a shot at the home using his father’s weapon, then fled in his father’s personal vehicle, according to investigators. He eventually returned to the home and surrendered after a brief standoff with deputies. Officials arrested the son’s girlfriend after discovering that she was in possession of heroin. A second woman at the former detention officers’ home was arrested on a felony prostitution warrant. In a statement from officials, this incident led to the department’s decision to conduct an internal investigation on the former detention officer,

“We didn’t really have anything on him at that time, but we did feel like it was appropriate to start an internal investigation just to make sure we weren’t missing anything.”

The investigation found that the former detention officer accepted 44 collect calls, more than one a day, from the prostituted woman while she was in custody. According to BCSO records, the former detention officer assisted the prostituted woman obtain bond, arranged for her to take part in three-way calls, relayed information between her and her mother, and used county computers to look up warrant information for one of the woman’s relatives. According to paperwork, the former detention officer violated of at least six BCSO policies. To read the full dismissal report, click HERE. In 2016, a Bexar County grand jury indicted a San Antonio defense attorney with 35 counts for the charges of sexual assault and compelling prostitution; 18 counts of sexual assault and 17 counts of compelling prostitution. The indictment covers offense dates ranging from 2009-2015, according to the DA’s office. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the District Attorney’s Office and the San Antonio Police Department. The investigation stemmed from a report in 2012 that the offender had coerced a client to perform sexual acts on him, in addition to new allegations that were raised by a client who asked for a new trial in 2015. In 2018, he was sentenced to 80 years in prison. According to reports, up to 500 women represented by the former lawyer could possible have their convictions overturned as a result of his arrest and sentencing. As a result of his arrest, the former lawyer submitted a motion to resign his legal license, which was accepted by the Supreme Court of Texas in December of 2016.

John School:

In January 2015, a john school program began operating in San Antonio. The program was delivered by a faith-based organization, Embassy of Hope in partnership with the San Antonio Police Department, and Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. The program was delivered as an 8-hour class or as multiple counseling sessions. The program was no longer operating, as of 2021.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Identity Disclosure:

SOAP Orders:

Neighborhood Action:

John School:

Sex Buyer Fired and/or Resigned Due to Arrest:

Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Prostitution-Related Violence, CSAM, Drugs, Weapons Offenses:

State Texas
Type County
Population 1979000
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