The Bell County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday morning the arrests of 15 people during a human trafficking sting operation from May 6th-8th.
Ten of the people arrested face prostitution charges. Three people are accused of promoting prostitution and two face human trafficking charges.
Taken into custody were men from all over Texas, including Austin and Dallas, and one woman.
Myles Broadnax and David Kulhanek were on active military duty.
“We wanted to get farther into this organized crime activity. In other words, catch the people behind the scenes that are causing this to continue to happen in our community,” said Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange.
Police rescued nine human trafficking victims ranging in ages from 18 to 25. One woman is believed to be from Asia.
The department partnered with Unbound from Waco and Refugee Services from Austin to help the young women.
“We really appreciate the law enforcement and the Bell County Sheriff’s office saying hey we don’t want to arrest these girls, they are the victims. What can we do that is best practices? So they do their investigations, they do their stings, they do excellent work, but they’ve allowed us to come in and partner with them so that we can help the women,” said Susan Peters, the national director of Unbound.
The Sheriff’s Department has already done four stings like this in the past, but they say human trafficking is a large problem they will continue to fight.
“i just want to remind everyone that we will continue to do this, and anytime you’re online just remember who’s on the other end of that computer. it could be one of us,” said Sheriff Lange.
FOX44’s Anna Thrash attended the announcement.