Port Arthur is a city of roughly 55,000 residents, located on the Texas Gulf near Beaumont in Jefferson County, Texas. Prostitution has a long history in the community, and generates a wide range of complaints from residents. Cases of suspected child sex trafficking and prostitution-related homicide have also been documented.
Although local law enforcement continues to prioritize the arrest of prostituted women and girls, the Port Arthur Police Department has conducted reverse stings targeting sex buyers. In June 2002, PAPD officers conducted a dual sting targeting both buyers and prostituted women soliciting sex in a 14-block area of the city “within two blocks” of an elementary school. Twelve male sex buyers and five prostituted women were arrested as a result. Their identities were disclosed to the public.
In February, 2021, police announced a sting in Port Arthur that netted 12 suspects and arrests linked to prostitution and human trafficking. The Port Arthur Police Department assisted the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and other local, state and federal agencies in an operation to target human traffickers. During the investigation, arrests were made in a Port Arthur hotel where predators agreed to meet the victims; eight men were arrested for attempting to purchase sex from adult females, and three of those men were also charged with attempting to purchase sexual acts with children. Three traffickers were also arrested, and five victims of human trafficking were identified and immediately provided social services to include medical, safe housing and counseling.
- Port Arthur Police Department
- Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Police Round up 17 in Vice Sweep,” Beaumont Enterprise, June 29 2002.
Web-based Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- https://www.panews.com/2021/03/02/human-trafficking-prostitution-sting-took-place-in-port-arthur/ (2021)
- https://www.kplctv.com/2021/02/28/bpso-assists-human-trafficking-arrests/ (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Two Members of Alleged Prostitution Ring Face Additional Charges,” Port Arthur News, July 23 2010.
- “Man Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Child and Organizing Prostitution Ring,” Beaumont Enterprise, August 22 2011.
- https://www.beauregarddailynews.net/social-media-sex-sting-results-in-local-arrest (2018)
- https://www.katc.com/troopers-arrest-three-men-for-crimes-involving-children/ (2018)
- http://www.westcentralsbest.com/man-arrested-in-deridder-on-prostitution-charges (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Beaumont Crime Complex Called Top Texas Problem,” Victoria Advocate, December 14 1960.
- “Passing Years Erasing Jefferson County’s Vice-Ridden Image,” Dallas Morning News, December 23 1985.
- “Port Arthur Getting Tough on Prostitution,” Beaumont Enterprise, June 21 2003.
- “Prostitution Sting Yields 5 Arrests in PA,” Beaumont Enterprise, March 9 2007.
- “Monday’s Prostitution Indictment a Felony, Rare Charge Filed Because of Prostitute’s Previous Arrests for Same Crime in Harris County,” Beaumont Enterprise, September 18 2007.
- “Raid Produces One Arrest, Multiple Charges,” Beaumont Enterprise, December 5 2008.
- “Six Women Charged with Prostitution,” Beaumont Enterprise, January 14 2009.
- “Suspected Prostitution Ring Busted,” Port Arthur News, July 1 2010.
- “Port Arthur Busts 3 for Alleged Prostitution,” Port Arthur News, July 21 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Seeks to Clear Streets of Crime,” Port Arthur News, July 21 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Results in 3 Arrests,” Beaumont Enterprise, July 22 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Three Arrests,” Beaumont Enterprise, May 19 2011.
- “Sting Operation Leads to Several Prostitution Arrests in Port Arthur,” Port Arthur News, July 28 2011.
- “Three Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Beaumont Enterprise, July 29 2011.
- “PAPD Sweep Cleaning up Streets,” Port Arthur News, June 21 2012.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Homicide Victim Remembered as ‘Vibrant, Caring,'” Beaumont Enterprise, October 28 2010.
- “Police Continue Work on Unsolved Murder Cases,” Port Arthur News, January 10 2011.