Police in Amarillo, Texas, arrested 37 people in connection to a human trafficking and prostitution operation, according to officials this week.
The police department’s Special Operations Division carried out a two-day enforcement operation that resulted in charges including prostitution, promotion of prostitution, sexual assault, human trafficking, unlawful carrying of a weapon, evading arrest, failing to identify, possession of drug paraphernalia, and other outstanding warrants, officials said in a news conference and in a Facebook news release.
“Some investigations from this operation are still on-going and more arrests are expected. Detectives interview all arrestees of prostitution to identify human trafficking victims,” the news release said. “Detectives ask the arrestees if they are aware of anyone who is being trafficked, and if they have any knowledge of underage victims. The Amarillo Police Department recognizes that human trafficking is a very real problem in Amarillo.”
The department added that “victims in these cases deserve to be treated like human beings and not property.”
One arrest in the sting was for human trafficking, and none of those who were arrested were victims of human trafficking, officials said.
The operation was carried out in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and the Lubbock Police Department.
According to the news release, the vast majority of those who were arrested face prostitution charges.
In a separate operation, officials on Thursday said that 31 children in North Texas were rescued following the month-long “Operation Missing in the Metroplex,” according to the Department of Justice. The U.S. Marshals and Homeland Security Investigations led that operation.