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Houma is a city of approximately 33,000 residents, located 60 miles southwest of New Orleans in Louisiana. It is the largest city in, and government seat of Terrebonne Parish. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the parish. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with the prostitution marketplace in the area is sex trafficking. For example, in September 2018, the Houma Police Department arrested three suspects on human trafficking charges after a woman transported to Thibodaux Regional Medical Center said she was sexually assaulted. The investigation revealed that a woman in her 30s was forced by three suspects to have sex with men for money and narcotics over several days. Police learned the victim encountered the suspects while at a Houma motel. The victim was fed illegal narcotics and taken to different locations throughout Houma and other jurisdictions to have sex with men for money and drugs. Afterward, the suspects dropped the victim off at a convenience store in Lafourche Parish, where she sought help and was transported to the hospital.
Community complaints have played a key role in the city’s anti-prostitution efforts. To combat consumer demand for prostitution, the Houma Police Department (at times in conjunction with the Assumption Sheriff’s Office, Terrebone Parrish Sheriff’s Office, and/or the Louisiana State Police) have conducted street-level and web-based reverse stings to arrest and publicize the identities (including photos) of arrested sex buyers. For example, in February 2012, the Houma Police Department, Assumption Sheriff’s Office ,and Louisiana State Police conducted a prostitution sting operation that targeted both sex buyers and prostituted persons within the city limits of Houma. Target areas included Belanger Street and Gabasse Street; New Orleans Blvd (from Park Ave to 6th Street); Main Street and Park Ave (from New Orleans Blvd to Morgan Street); and Lafayette Street (from Magnolia Street to Park Ave). The names, dates of birth, and addresses of sex sex buyers were included in news releases. In March 2013, a web-based reverse sting was conducted, resulting in the arrest of 16 sex buyers at a local hotel. In November 2013, a street-level reversal targeted an area near New Orleans Boulevard and Park Avenue and resulted in the arrest of seven sex buyers.
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Eleven Locals Arrested in Prostitution Crackdown”, Thibodaux Daily Comet, March 25 2011.
- https://nixle.com/alert/4782895/ (2012)
- “Houma Prostitution Sting Nets Seven Arrests”, Thibodaux Daily Comet, November 22 2013.
- “Reports Cut Prostitution in Houma”, Houma Courier, December 30 2013.
- “Six Charged with Soliciting for Prostitutes,” Thibodaux Daily Comet, May 28 2015.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “15 Men, 1 Woman Arrested in Houma Prostitution Ring Arranged Via Backpage”, NBC/WVLA-TV 33, March 11 2013.
- “Online Prostitution Sting Nets 15 Arrests”, Thibodaux Daily Comet, March 11 2013.
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- http://www.wafb.com/story/9-arrested-3-wanted-in-prostitution-bust-at-wet-and-wild-saloon (2015)
- http://www.houmatoday.com/five-charged-with-prostitution-in-terrebonne (2016)
- http://www.dailycomet.com/houma-woman-charged-with-prostitution (2016)
- http://www.dailycomet.com/houma-woman-accused-of-prostitution-using-fake-money (2017)
- http://www.houmatoday.com/houma-police-arrest-three-suspects-on-human-trafficking-charges (2018)
- https://wgno.com/3-arrested-in-houma-for-human-trafficking (2018)
- http://www.fox8live.com/2018/09/20/houma-trio-arrested-drugging-woman-human-trafficking (2018)
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