Dubbed Operation Cupid, officials said the sting lasted about three days and targeted individuals who were allegedly clients of prostitutes.
“Over three days, Operation Cupid aimed to combat human trafficking in Fort Bend County by identifying and arresting those intending to buy sex,” Assistant District Attorney Craig Priesmeyer said in a news conference on Wednesday, reported the Fort Bend Herald.
He added: “Commonly known as ‘johns,’ they create the demand for human trafficking and contribute to the pervasive problem the community faces from these crimes. We are focused on saving victims by following basic economics; removing the demand will reduce the supply.”
Priesmeyer said the dozens of people who were arrested involved in the ring, reported KLTV.
“Don’t take it lightly, we rescued a child. We arrested 30 offenders, that’s a big thing,” said Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan in the press conference “Perpetrators should know, Fort Bend County is no longer a place where you can come easily to commit these crimes, we’re out there now, we’re looking for you, and we will arrest you.”
The Sugar Land Police Department, Houston Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri City Police Department, Department of Public Safety, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Homeland Security were also involved in the operation, officials said.
In Arizona last month, an operation targeting sexual predators netted 34 arrests.
“Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children. These suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested,” the Phoenix Police Department, one of the agencies involved, said in a statement. The Mesa, Tempe, and Chandler police departments were involved in the sting.
Fort Bend County is located west of Houston.