Undercover human trafficking sting leads to 61 arrests - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Undercover human trafficking sting leads to 61 arrests

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WACO, TX (KXXV) -

The McLennan County arrested dozens of people in a month long undercover operation for human trafficking related crimes.

Two undercover detectives who posed as both prostitutes and “John’s” online started the sting on May 16 and since then 56 people have been arrested and warrants have been issued for five others. These offenders, many from Dallas, face 82 charges all together.

"When you see these many offenders in four weeks, this is a sad situation," Sheriff Sheriff Parnell McNamara said. "This many people come out of the woodwork for illegal purposes and they keep coming, it's just sad."

According to the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, 11 individuals who assisted in the management of prostitution, or pimps were arrested or a warrant was issued for their arrest.

“Our main goal is to get the pimps and if we can, salvage the ladies who are being trafficked against their will,” McNamara said.

The number of arrests during sting operations reportedly has increased since the Sheriff’s Office conducted its first sting, in which 20 people were arrested.

“It escalates each sting and this last one we had 61 but our goal is to put such a dent in it, that they will quit coming,” said McNamara.

Five of the 62 cases in this operation will be worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for possible federal prosecution. During the course of the investigation, detectives said they seized large quantities of drugs and $4,500 in US currency.

Unbound, a group combating human trafficking, has provided assistance to women arrested in these stings. The group encourages the women who they said are manipulated into that life to cooperate with law enforcement. In this sting, they assisted and located services for eight women.

Unbound Executive Director Susan Peters said applauded the work of the Sheriff’s Office.

“These guys are hitting at the very root of domestic sex trafficking in our nation, when you arrest the buyers who are driving up demand and supply or the traffickers. By arresting both of them, they doing an unprecedented amount of work to hit human trafficking,” Peters said.

The Sheriff’s Office said in a statement over the last 19 months detectives have initiated a total of 200 cases, which shows the community this crime they refer to as “a form of modern day slavery” is happening in the community.

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved.

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