BELL COUNTY, Texas — Bell County authorities have arrested 9 men for soliciting prostitution, said police.
Among those arrested included a Texas Department of Corrections officer, a registered nurse and a bondsman.
From April 19 to 20, the Bell County Sheriff's Department (BCSD), alongside Fort Hood Law Enforcement, conducted a sex traffic/prostitution sting.
Deploying undercover female deputies, authorities conducted their "John Suppression Initiative Operation."
The operation was created to crackdown on sex trafficking and to identify and arrest individuals seeking sexual acts in exchange for a fee in Bell County.
During this operation, multiple charges were screened for each arrested, BCSD said.
The operation was conducted exclusively in the Bell County area.
To attract people interested in "buying sex," authorities placed advertisements on known online sites; ultimately, attacking the demand side of prostitution.
"If there is no demand, there is no need for the service," BCSD said.
Texas is the first state to make a first-time solicitation of prostitution offense a felony.
H.B. 2975 has been in effect since September 1, 2021.
As ruled, those offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct in exchange for a fee will go from a Class A misdemeanor to a State Jail Felony.