32 arrested in 5-day human trafficking operation in east Harris County

HOUSTON – More than 30 people were arrested as part of an undercover human trafficking operation in eastern Harris County last month.

Capt. Chris Sandoval, of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office special investigations division, said that as many as 80 law enforcement agents from several different agencies were used each day of the five-day-long Operation Kickoff 2020, which ran from Jan. 21-25.

Undercover officers arranged meetings with people who were being trafficked and that would lead authorities to their pimps, investigators said.

Sandoval said the operation was focused on identifying and rescuing victims of human trafficking and arresting the people responsible for trafficking them. He said that once the victims have been arrested they are connected to resources aimed at helping them get back on their feet.

Investigators said a total of 32 people were arrested and three of them were 17 years old. Thirty-nine charges were filed against those arrested including 22 prostitution charges, four compelling prostitution charges, six promoting prostitution charges and various weapons and drug charges.

Officials said they are not releasing the identities of those who were arrested at this time in order to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Live press briefing to announce the results of a major human trafficking initiative. We teamed up with law enforcement partners and social service organizations – known as the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance – on a five-day initiative in January called “Operation Kickoff 2020.” The operation focused on East Harris County, with the objective of identifying and rescuing human trafficking victims, identifying and arresting traffickers, and providing an array of services to help victims escape their abusers.

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