Harlingen, TX

Tactics Used

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

Harlingen is a city of approximately 69,000 residents, located near Brownsville in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, in Cameron County. To reduce prostitution activity in the city, the Harlingen Police Department has conducted periodic street-level reverse stings since at least 1996. As a warning to other would-be sex buyers, the HPD often releases johns’ names and other identifying information to the media.  In May and October 2014, police conducted reversals resulting in the arrest of 11 sex buyers, whose names, ages, and photos were posted online.

In January 2012, local law enforcement reported a case involving the forced prostitution of a minor in Harlingen. The victim, a 15-year-old female, was picked up by a man at a city park and taken to a nearby hotel where she was beaten, drugged and sold to another individual for sexual intercourse. The man responsible for pimping the girl was charged with compelling prostitution and four drug-related charges; he was incarcerated and held on $639,000 bail. The “john” accused of purchasing sexual services from the girl was similarly arrested, although the details of his arrest were not made public.

State Texas
Type City
Population 69064
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