Bexar County, TX

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Bexar County is located in southern Texas, and has a population of nearly 2 million.  San Antonio is the largest city in the county and contains most of its population, with nearly 1.5 million residents within the city limits.  Prostitution and child sex trafficking have been identified by community leaders and law enforcement agencies as substantial problems throughout Bexar County. Local law enforcement and media outlets have reported cases of targeted assaults and homicides committed against those who sell sex.

Among their efforts to address prostitution and related crimes, law enforcement have incorporated tactics that focus on underlying demand for commercial sex. Some operations have been large in scale; for example, in 2012, several collaborating agencies including the San Antonio Police Department, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 64 men in just under nine hours for trying to buy sex from three undercover policewomen. During the operation, police also impounded 47 vehicles used by the johns for soliciting sex.

In January 2013, a local prostitution sting resulted in the arrest of 46 suspects, mostly men trying to buy sex.  The arrestees included a local teacher, a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office employee and an on-duty EMT who sought out sex with a 15 year old.  The multi-agency operation was called “Blue Ice,” with local, federal, sheriff’s, and police officials all collaborating.  On January 11 Bexar County sheriff’s deputies spent hours in a street-level sting, posing as prostituted women at an undisclosed location on the South Side of the county in an effort to catch johns trying to buy sex. They also used websites like Backpage.com and eccie.com, posing as adult women or underage girls to arrange faux encounters with sex-buyers.

In January 2015, a john school program began operating in San Antonio.  The program is delivered by a faith-based organization, Embassy of Hope, and the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County District Attorney’s Office are key partners in its design and utilization.  The program is delivered as an 8-hour class or as multiple counseling sessions.

Key Sources

State Texas
Type County
Population 1958578
Location
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