Travis County is a county in south central Texas that includes the city of Austin. It has a population of approximately 975,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by law enforcement as problems in the county. In August 2012, the Austin Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested three people in connection with a human trafficking ring that were prostituting their victims. The Travis County Sheriff’s Department has conducted at least one reverse sting. They have also conducted web stings that have resulted in the arrest of people for solicitation and human trafficking.
In December 2016, Travis County commissioners voted to start a “John School” program aimed at educating men arrested for paying for sex. The John School program would be another option for first-time offenders arrested for the crime to avoid jail time. The program is comprised of an eight hour class that costs $250. Those funds are slated to go toward helping victims of prostitution. The school is not open to people who commit crimes involving minors. County staff project that the fees should cover the costs of the classes. The fees should also generate money for the Phoenix Court, designed for people who have been arrested for prostitution and are seeking to change their lives.
- Austin Police Department
- Travis County Sheriff’s Office
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Reverse stings:
- John School
- https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/phoenix-court-program-cutting-down-on-prostitution-in-travis-co (2019)
- Background on human trafficking in the area: