Victoria is a city of approximately 66,900 residents, located in 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Texas’ Victoria County. Nicknamed “The Crossroads,” the community is roughly equidistant from Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the area for several years. Since 2009, the city has documented at least three separate incidents of adults attempting to exploit minor girls for commercial sex.
In response, the Victoria Police Department conduct periodic reverse stings targeting johns. VPD officers have conducted at least two street-level operations, in August 2006 and September 2007 respectively, that resulted in the arrest of four sex buyers.
In September 2014, the VPD conducted a web-based sting that netted 15 johns. According to police, the two-day operation was initiated after police received “citizen complaints alleging prostitution solicitation via the internet.” Officers then placed a decoy advertisement to a website known for prostitution activity, and arranged to meet the men who responded to the listing at an undisclosed location. When the men arrived and made an explicit offer of money for sex, they were apprehended by police. Of the 15 johns arrested, only seven were Victoria residents. All of the men’s names and arrest photos were released to the public.
In October 2015, the Victoria Advocate reported that at least one of the men arrested during the September 2014 reversal had pled guilty to solicitation of prostitution, and been sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of mandatory community service, plus $500 in fines.
- Victoria Police Department
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “3 Men Arrested on Prostitution Charges”, Victoria Advocate, August 26 2006.
- “Arrested”, Victoria Advocate, September 23 2007.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Police Arrest 15 Men in Undercover Prostitution Sting”, Victoria Advocate, September 5 2014.
- “VPD Arrest 15 Men in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KAVU-TV 25, September 5 2014.
- “15 Arrested in Undercover Prostitution Sting”, Victoria Advocate, September 6 2014.
- “Locals React to Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KAVU-TV 25, September 6 2014.
- Community Service:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Man Arrested on 2007 Sex Assault, Prostitution Charges”, Victoria Advocate, September 24 2009.
- “State Says Man Forced Woman into Prostitution”, Victoria Advocate, October 25 2012.
- “Victoria Man Sent to Prison on Firearms Conviction”, Press Release, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, U.S. Department of Justice, March 5 2013.
- “Houston Man Charged with Compelling Prostitution”, Victoria Advocate, April 23 2013.
- “Police Raid Spa, Suspect Prostitution, Human Trafficking”, Victoria Advocate, October 29 2013.
- “Rockport Woman Arrested in Connection with Victoria Spa Raid”, Victoria Advocate, November 8 2013.
- “Men Arrested on Prostitution Charges in Victoria; 17-Year-Old Girl Found”, Victoria Advocate, February 3 2014.
- “Two Men Arrested on Prostitution Charges”, ABC/KAVU-TV 25, February 4 2014.
- “Prostitution Plea Hearing Waived”, ABC/KAVU-TV 25, May 14 2014.
- “Prostitution Case Presented to Victoria Grand Jury”, Victoria Advocate, July 12 2014.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Charged”, Victoria Advocate, January 8 2000.
- “Charged”, Victoria Advocate, August 6 2005.
- “Arrested”, Victoria Advocate, August 11 2005.
- “Women Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Victoria Advocate, November 6 2008.
- “Third Woman Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Victoria Advocate, November 7 2008.