Lubbock is a city of approximately 254,000 residents located in Lubbock County and is situated between Amarillo and Midland in northwest Texas. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been documented in the city. For example, in August of 2013, the Lubbock Police Department conducted an undercover online prostitution and sex trafficking operation where officers arrested five offenders at the local Red Roof Inn. During the operation, officers discovered two underage girls who were being sold for purposes of prostitution. Two offenders were arrested on charges of compelling prostitution, human trafficking, and aggravated promotion of prostitution and the remaining three offenders were arrested on charges of human trafficking and promotion of prostitution. Between 2007 and 2012, cases of sex trafficking were also reported in Lubbock. In addition, in the mid-2000s, a serial killer targeting prostituted women was active in the city.
To combat the demand for purchasing commercial sex, the Lubbock Police Department conducts both street-level and web-based reverse stings, in addition to officers routinely publicizing the names and identities of arrested sex buyers. In 2012, the Lubbock Police Department launched a concerted “shaming” effort by posting the names and photos of arrested sex buyers on the LPD’s official website. LPD officers also posted a group photo of the eight sex buyers arrested to the LPD’s Facebook page. A combined task force of local, state, and federal law enforcement inclusive of the Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division, Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Homeland Security Investigations conducted a two-day prostitution operation from August 31st through September 2nd, 2020, conducted an operation that led to the indictment of 15 individuals on prostitution related charges. According to reports, the sting took place at an assortment of local hotels and the majority of charges pertained to solicitation prostitution and prostitution, however other non-prostitution related violations were reported as well. While the statement given by Lubbock Police Department confirmed the identity and charges of those involved in the sting, details could not be given due to ongoing investigations being completed by the Special Operations Division. In December of 2020, the Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division, Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted a two-day prostitution operation at a Lubbock hotel on Marsha Sharp Freeway, which resulted in the arrest of 13 male sex buyers. The photos and identifiers of the arrested sex buyers were included in news reports.
In January of 2021, the Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division with the assistance of LPD Patrol, Texas Tech Police Department, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted a two-day prostitution operation, resulting the arrest of 17 male sex buyers. In February of 2021, the Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division, collaborating with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Amarillo Police Department, conducted a two-day prostitution operation resulting in the arrest of 16 male sex buyers on charges of soliciting prostitution, soliciting prostitution of a minor, amongst other offenses. The identities of the arrestees were released in news reports. In May of 2021, the Lubbock Police Department’s Special Operations Division conducted a prostitution operation that resulted in the arrest of nine male sex buyers on charges of soliciting prostitution. The identities, ages, charges, and photos of arrestees were included in reports. No other information regarding the operation was included within the reports. In July, 2021, 11 male sex buyers were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution amongst other offenses. Their photos and other identifying information were included in news releases.
Loss of employment is also a consequence of sex buying in the city. For example, in 2006 a former pastor was fired from his position at the Mt. Vernon Methodist Church after he was charged with compelling prostitution. The former pastor reportedly approached a 21-year-old woman last August while on a trip to Kenya and offered to bring her to the U.S. so she could attend college. According to reports, upon the woman’s arrival in Texas, the former pastor began demanding the her to engage in sex with him in exchange for financing her college education. According to officers, “He did not begin making demands until she was already here in Texas.” Investigations found that the pastor had falsified personal information to pass a background check before being hired as a pastor. Additionally, an International Student Assistance Fund was established at the First Baptist Church in Levelland to help the woman continue pursuing her nursing degree. The former pastor was arrested and charged with compelling prostitution and was held at the Hockley County Jail on a $150,000 bond at the time of reports. As a result of the investigation and subsequent arrest, the offender was immediately fried from his position at the church. Officials continued to investigate the former pastor throughout 2006 and by February of 2007, the former pastor faced over 40 felony charges including money laundering, fraud, and compelling prostitution.
- Lubbock Police Department
- Special Operations Division
- Voice of Hope Lubbock Rape Crisis Center’s Ending Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Project
- Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigation Division
- Department of Homeland Security
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
- Texas Tech Police Department
- Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office
Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Crime Wrap: November 21, 1999”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 21 1999.
- “Police Blotter: June 9, 2002”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, June 9 2002.
- “Five Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, June 15 2006.
- “Lubbock Prostitution Sting Nets Sex Offender”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, November 12 2006.
- “In-Depth Look at Increasing Prostitution Numbers”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, March 15 2009.
- “LPD Posts Photos Online of Men Arrested for Prostitution”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, October 25 2012.
- “Police Arrest Alleged Solicitors, Post Faces on Facebook”, FOX/KJTV-TV 24, October 25 2012.
- “Consider This: Prostitution Is Simple Supply and Demand”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, October 26 2012.
- “Rape Crisis Educator Praises LPD Prostitution Initiative”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, October 29 2012.
- https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/fifteen-arrested-in-prostitution-operation-lpd-says/ (2020)
- 11 Arrested in Prostitution Operation (2021)
- LPD Arrests 11 Individuals in Prostitution Operation (2021)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Police Use High-Tech Tactics to Stop Prostitution”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, April 26 2006.
- “Police Patrol Web in Prostitution Sting”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 27 2006.
- “Our View: Prostitution Has Moved Online, But So Has Law Enforcement”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 30 2013.
- https://www.lubbockonline.com/story/news/2020/12/17/prostitution-sting-nets-13-arrest-lubbock-hotel/3948195001/ (2020)
- https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/local-news/13-arrests-made-in-prostitution-operation/ (2020)
- https://www.fox34.com/news/thirteen-arrests-made-in-prostitution-operation/article_b6c63354-409b-11eb-9091-bbbaa3e7bb80.html (2020)
- https://www.newschannel10.com/2021/01/26/arrests-made-lubbock-prostitution-operation/ (2021)
- https://www.kcbd.com/2021/02/22/arrests-made-prostitution-operation/ (2021)
- https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/local-news/lpd-arrests-20-in-prostitution-sting/ (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Former Lubbock Pastor Faces 40 Felony Charges”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, February 23 2007.
- “Former Lubbock Pastor on Trial for Prostitution”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, December 10 2007.
- “Ex-Preacher Guilty in Case of Forced Sex”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, December 13 2007.
- “10 Arrested for Trafficking, Prostitution Sting, 5 from Lubbock”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, October 26 2010.
- “Two Lubbock Residents Arrested in Midland for Forcing Minor into Prostitution; Human Trafficking”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, October 26 2010.
- “Undercover Officers Bust Prostitution Ring Operating Out of Overton Hotel”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, March 30 2011.
- “Young Lubbock Woman Charged, Making Child Pornography”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, April 7 2011.
- “Police Arrest Man and Woman in Alleged Prostitution Ring Involving Minor”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 4 2011.
- “Two People Charged with Prostitution Ring in Lubbock”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 4 2011.
- “Lubbock Man Sentenced to 33 Years for Sex Trafficking of a Child”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, December 22 2011.
- “Lubbock Woman Sentenced to 5 Years for Child Sex Trafficking Conspiracy”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, January 6 2012.
- “Lubbock Teen Arrested for Trafficking Underage Girl”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, February 25 2012.
- “Children Sold for Sex in Lubbock”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, May 8 2012.
- “Community Comes Together to Fight Sex Trafficking”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, June 18 2012.
- Community Assessment Committee Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Voice of Hope Lubbock Rape Crisis Center, January 2013.
- “Amarillo Girl Returned to Parents after Weekend SWAT Raid”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, July 20 2013.
- “5 Arrested in Online Prostitution Sting Operations”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 1 2013.
- “Court Documents Say Amarillo Girl Was Coerced into Prostitution”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 4 2013.
- “4 Suspects Indicted for Sexual Assault of a Child”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 20 2013.
- “4 Indicted on Prostitution Charges after Red Roof Inn Sting”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 27 2013.
- “Four Indicted in Prostitution Case”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 28 2013.
- “LPD Cracking Down on Prostitution”, CBS/KLBK-TV 40, October 17 2013.
- “Lubbock Man Accused of Forcing Pregnant Girlfriend into Prostitution”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, September 23 2014.
- “Police: Lubbock Man Trafficked Girlfriend when She Was 8 Months Pregnant”, Longview News-Journal, September 24 2014.
- “Two Men Arrested on Human Trafficking Charges,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 2 2015.
- “Lubbock Defense Attorney Denies Prostitution Charges Levied against Him,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 19 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Local Woman Speaks Openly about Her Former Life as a Prostitute”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, March 17 2009.
- “Top 10 Most Wanted Suspect Captured in Lubbock”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, July 6 2012.
- “Vice Squad Prostitution Ring Features Increasingly Common Online Solicitations”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 5 2013.
- “Retired Lubbock Police Officer Arrested in Undercover Sting Operation”, FOX/KJTV-TV 34, September 10 2013.
- https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/local-news/5-arrests-made-in-lpd-prostitution-sting-sjr/ (2021)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Carbajal’s Murder Sparks Possible Prostitution Tie In”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, April 20 2004.
- “Suspect Held in ’99 Killing of Gschwend”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, June 1 2005.
- “Risky Lifestyle Blamed for Fate of Slain Woman”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 13 2007.
- “29-Year-Old Found Dead in Northeast Lubbock”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 21 2008.
- “Woman with Prostitution in Past Beaten, Raped on Friday”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 15 2008.
- “Unsolved: On Fifth Anniversary of Lubbock Woman’s Murder, Four More Deaths Remembered”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, April 19 2009.
- “Two Years Later, LPD Still Looking for Answers to Lubbock Homicide”, NBC/KCBD-TV 11, August 20 2010.
- “Lubbock Police Explore Murder Victim’s Criminal Background”, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 28 2012.
- “S.A. Trucker May Be Linked to West Texas Murders of Alleged Prostitutes”, CBS/KENS-TV 5, March 14 2012.