Denton 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

Denton County is located within the DallasFort Worth metropolitan area of Texas, and the city of Denton serves as its government seat. It has a population of approximately 942,000 residents, and portions of the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth are within Denton County.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the county.  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 child sex trafficking.

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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand by conducting reverse stings and publicizing the identities of arrested sex buyers. For example, in 2014, 14 male sex buyers were arrested as a result of a North Texas sex trafficking sting related to commercial sex and juveniles. The Denton County Sheriff’s Office reported that in addition to arrests, two 17-year-olds were rescued. Related arrests of offenders occurred in Denton and The Colony. In June of 2014, as a result of a multiagency operation involving the Cooke County Sheriff’s Department, Cooke County Attorney’s Office, the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District focused on the disruption of a local prostitution ring involving minors, resulted in the arrest of nine individuals and the rescue of two minors, both under the age of three. The operation was conducted at a local Holiday Inn Express along Interstate 35. Officials believe that the county’s position along I-35 is a contributing factor to the increase in sex trafficking cases seen in the past few years,

“With this being right here on 35, this major freeway, kind of an on and off ramp for all types of different offenses, it’s very important that the members of our community understand, it really does happen here.”

Nine individuals were arrested and charged with criminal attempt of prostitution, in addition to various drug-related charges. Two children were rescued and taken into Child Protective Services (CPS).

In May of 2017, the University of North Texas Police began an investigating two former UNT basketball players and former assistant basketball coach at a local university in Louisiana after a UNT resident assistant filed an online report alleging sexual assault and promotion of prostitution at an off-campus location. According to the affidavit, the two men called a female student to set up an appointment for paid sex. A resident assistant had overheard the call from the two men as the female student had placed the call on speakerphone. and filed the report. During the call to police, the two men solicited the victim to engage in prostitution, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit. The two men were arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity—promotion of prostitution and drug possession, and the assistant coach from Louisiana was arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime involving prostitution. Officers were unclear on how the relationship between two former students and the former assistant coach from Louisiana was established.

In July of 2016, thirteen offenders were arrested in a Joint Online Solicitation Operation. Eleven male sex buyers traveled to sexually exploit, who they believed to be a minor, whereupon their arrival were met and arrested by law enforcement. Two other men agreed to meet but did not show and were arrested after warrants were obtained. According to officials, the effort consisted of undercover online chats utilizing personal advertisements, covert social media and other communication platforms to communicate with potential targets looking to have sexual intercourse with a child under 17 years old. All arrested offenders were charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor, some were charged with multiple counts. The operation was carried out by the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Denton Police Department, Denton County District Attorney’s Office, Tarrant County Sheriff s Office, FBI, Fort Worth Police Department, Wylie Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Dallas Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office and the Collin County District Attorney’s Office. Seven of the men were residents of  Denton County, and the others resided in surrounding areas. The offenders’ identities, photos, and charges were included in reports by local news sources.

In March, 2023, 17 men were arrested in a Joint Prostitution Demand Suppression Operation in Denton County. Multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the prostitution sting.  The arrested men were charged with solicitation of prostitution, a stat jail felony in Texas. Police said that leads on others engaging in prostitution were also developed and were being followed up on with the Denton County Sheriff’s human trafficking unit. Twelve of the suspects charged in the operation were from Denton County, two from Cooke County, one from Tarrant County, one from Grayson County, and one from Kaufman County.

Neighborhood Action, Public Education:

The C7 Human Trafficking Coalition (formerly the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition) is a collaboration of over 40 nonprofits, ministries, social service organizations, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, government agencies, first responders, and community leaders. The C7HTC believes that tackling the demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking is crucial to effectively combat prostitution and sex trafficking. Their mission includes, bringing awareness, education, training, and victim services to the North Texas region. C7HTC members offer direct services to individuals, families, schools, businesses, and communities to help them establish prostitution and sex trafficking prevention strategies, identify, and advocate for victims, and provide recovery services for survivors. In addition to Denton County, members work throughout Cooke, Collin, Grayson, Dallas, Tarrant, and Wise counties.

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Neighborhood Action, Public Education:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Texas
Type County
Population 941647
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