Georgetown is a community of about 67,000 residents in the Austin metro area, in central Texas about midway between Killeen and Austin. It serves as the government seat for Williamson County. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are known to be well-established problems in Georgetown. For example, local and state law enforcement agencies arrested 41 people during a four-day prostitution operation in October 2015 in Austin, that drew men from broader region including Georgetown. Of the arrests made in that operation, 28 men were charged with Class B misdemeanor prostitution — punishable by up to 180 days in jail — for agreeing to purchase sex. Among the 28 men arrested was a member of the board of directors for The Refuge Ranch, a Christian-based organization to help teenage victims of human trafficking.
Among the tactics used to address such issues are those targeting demand for commercial sex, including the men who intend to sexually abuse minors. In May 2018, the Texas Attorney General announced that his office collaborated with Central Texas and federal law enforcement on a 7-month investigation that ended in the arrests of 13 people accused of prostitution and human trafficking. The investigation began after the Georgetown Police Department and the Attorney General’s office received a complaint about illegal activity at a massage parlor in Georgetown. As the investigation continued, they discovered prostitution and organized criminal activity at a number of massage parlors and spas. The Bell County Organized Crime Unit coordinated the execution of seven search warrants at massage parlors in Temple, Killeen and Harker Heights, resulting in six arrests. The multi-agency law enforcement operation was led by the Georgetown and Round Rock police departments and included participation by the Cedar Park Police Department, Houston Police’s Vice Unit and Human Trafficking Task Force, Killeen Police Department, Harker Heights Police Department, Temple Police Department, Bryan Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. State Department.
In January 2018, two men were arrested and charged in separate events, in which they were trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex in Georgetown. One of the men was accused of soliciting a person who he believed was a 14-year-old girl over a messaging app; he allegedly engaged in sexually explicit conversation with an undercover officer and send nude photos of his genitals. He was arrested when he arrived at a park in Georgetown to meet the fictitious 14-year-old. Police say he admitted to speaking to the girl in a sexually explicit manor and planned to meet with her for sex. He was charged with online solicitation of a minor and booked into the Williamson County Jail.
In another incident in January 2018, a man was accused of arranging to meet a 14- and 15-year-old girl to pay them for sex. According to an affidavit, he allegedly contacted who he thought was a 14-year-old girl on a chat app called Whisper. It was there he asked an undercover officer posing as an underage girl if she would be interested in “making money.” The undercover officer responded that she and a 15-year-old friend (also fictitious) were interested in money. The suspect allegedly offered to pay the girls for oral sex. Police said the suspect offered to pick up the girls and, when he arrived at a predetermined location, he was arrested by Georgetown police and charged with prostitution and online solicitation of a minor. He was booked into the WilCo jail.
- Georgetown Police Department
- Williamson County Jail
- Round Rock Police Department
- Cedar Park Police Department
- Houston Police’s Vice Unit and Human Trafficking Task Force
- Killeen Police Department
- Harker Heights Police Department
- Temple Police Department
- Bryan Police Department
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- http://cbsaustin.com/news/local/two-men-accused-of-soliciting-sex-with-14-year-old-girls-in-georgetown (2018)
- https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Prostitution-Texas-sting-multi-agency-12938474.php (2018)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/crime/article/More-than-40-arrested-in-Central-Texas-6592797.php (2015)
- https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/texas/slideshow/Prostitution-busts-around-Central-Texas-129977.php (2016)
- http://www.ktre.com/story/38251254/law-enforcement-arrests-13-people-in-months-long-prostitution-human-trafficking-investigation (2018)
- https://www.kcentv.com/article/news/crime/13-people-arrested-in-massage-parlor-busts-in-central-texas/500-557148427 (2018)
- http://www.newsradioklbj.com/news/austin-local-news/update-three-georgetown-residents-arrested-promoting-prostitution (2018)