Sting operations targets 'johns' and 'pimps'

- DPS officials are using sting operations to target people soliciting prostitutes in San Angelo. Last year, there were 39 children rescued from solicitation and, not even halfway through the year, they have already rescued 23 children. Officials said that means prostitution and the solicitation of prostitutes is on the rise in San Angelo.
Since August of last year, in San Angelo, six johns have been arrested on prostitution charges, five pimps face promotion of prostitution charges, and two pimps are accused of compelling prostitution.

Some residents were shocked when they heard the numbers.

"It shouldn't be that way. It should've been gone a long time ago," stated Steve Bradshaw.

"I didn't even know there was any prostitution here in San Angelo. It seems like a small city where you wouldn't have to worry about a topic like that," continued Javier Carmona.

A DPS official, Captain Brian Baxter, said most prostitutes are women and these women are victims of human trafficking.

"San Angelo, I would say, what we should focus on is the big picture. But, what we have determined is absolutely here is prostitution and child pornography," Baxter said. "Prostitution is a form of human trafficking. I would submit that every woman that is being prostituted by a pimp is a victim of human trafficking."

The most common question people ask is why prostitutes would stay with their pimp. He said the answer is simple.

"A lot of people ask why don't these women leave when they're in captivity and they're like, you know, they were on the street corner and why didn't they run away? Or they were in this house unsupervised by the pimp, why didn't they run away? The answer to that is, where would they go," finished Baxter.

A local Sunday school group, Morning Glories at First United Methodist Church, is focusing on saving children from prostitution and child pornography.

"What we want to do is bring awareness to this heinous crime and to inform people that they have an opportunity to help stop it," explained leader Barbara Moorman.

They are in the beginning planning stages and hope to have more information in the coming months.

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