County District Attorney’s Office
Multi-Agency Partnership Responsible for
Bend County Human Trafficking Operation
Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Human
Trafficking Rescue Alliance and partnering agencies to conduct a multi-day
proactive operation in late January 2023.
New Year was a buyer suppression operation in Sugar Land targeting illicit sexually
oriented businesses and resulted in 29 arrests.
The operation aimed to combat human trafficking in Fort Bend County by identifying
and arresting those intending to buy sex.
Commonly known as “johns”, they create the demand for human trafficking
and contribute to the pervasive problem the community faces from these
Fort Bend County Attorney shut down an illicit massage business under their
authority to regulate and remove such commercial enterprises. Through a cooperative effort with the
property owner, the tenant was evicted and the illegal operation came to an
end. The location was then used to stage an undercover operation where law
enforcement received solicitations for sex from prospective buyers.
Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton
congratulated the team on the results and further stressed the importance of
being proactive, “Our goal is to keep our community safe from crime and
eradicate human trafficking in its entirety. Once again, we partnered with
other law enforcement agencies to conduct a sting operation. In this operation,
we targeted prospective sex buyers. Again, whether in a residential
neighborhood or commercial establishment, we are watching. Fort Bend County is,
and will continue to be, one the safest places to live because of operations
like this. We are setting the tone – do not come to Fort Bend County to commit
Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson added that, “the fight against human
trafficking is something that we all must join in to save lives. It’s not just an effort of one office or one
official, it is an undertaking that all of us in leadership and in our
communities must join together to fight. My office will use the civil remedies
of injunctive relief and civil penalties to compliment the criminal law
enforcement approach being led by District Attorney Brian Middleton, Sheriff
Eric Fagan, and other local law enforcement agencies. Human trafficking and sex
trafficking are driven by supply and demand. If we get rid of these massage
parlors, also known as illicit massage parlors, we can reduce the supply in our
county and drive this activity out of our county. Together we can make Fort
Bend safer for our children and for everyone.”
charges were filed, including Solicitation of Prostitution, Resisting Arrest,
and drug-related charges.
District Attorney Middleton recognizes our law
enforcement partners as critical to the success of these operations. The partner agencies included the Fort
Bend County Attorney’s Office, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri City
Police Department, Houston Police Department, Department of Public Safety, and
the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.