Lawmakers, Charities React to North Texas Sex Trafficking Bust

NBC Universal, Inc.

News of an undercover sex trafficking sting in Frisco and Southlake shocked many in those suburban communities, but those who work to stop trafficking say it’s not surprising at all.

Forty-six men were arrested during the operation on Jan. 12 and 13 at the Hilton at Southlake Town Square and Hyatt near Stonebriar Centre in Frisco. Undercover officers posed online as commercial sex workers, said authorities.

Among those arrested included a high school teacher and coach, a youth pastor, and the operations director of a large hospital network.

A Collin County lawmaker is taking steps to end human trafficking after two dozen men were arrested in Frisco.

“Unfortunately I was not shocked. I have worked this issue for many years,” said Matt Osborne with New Friends New Life. “Frisco, Southlake those are really great areas, right? Unfortunately, that’s where the clientele are. There’s where the man, the average age 40s and 50s with six-figure incomes often are.”

Osborne works with the Dallas nonprofit to educate men about the issue of sex trafficking and hopefully prevent it.

“We want to let men know this isn’t ‘Pretty Woman’ with Julia Roberts,” Osborne said. “These are trafficking victims, not prostitutes there on their own free will and accord.”

Texas made buying sex a felony in 2021. A move by the Texas legislature to shift blame away from those who engage in prostitution, many of who are often victims of trafficking.

A conviction for soliciting prostitution can lead to two years in state jail.

On Tuesday, Collin County Representative Matt Shaheen addressed the recent sting during a press conference with reporters in Austin.

He announced legislation that would make the punishment even harsher for those caught engaging in prostitution with a victim of trafficking.

“We have to address the demand side of sex trafficking,” Rep. Matt Shaheen said.

Osborne believes these arrests can help deter crimes and break the cycle of human trafficking.

“I think this deterrence will get a number of men who might purchase sex online or want to to say 'it's a little bit too dangerous I'm not going to get involved in this,’” he said. “I'm optimistic. It's going to take a while, but I think arrests like we just saw and hopefully trials and if these men are guilty, hopefully with convictions and sentences, this will deter. This will be effective, I believe, in the long run."

New Friends New Life says knowledge and education is key. 

Their men's advocacy group leads a program for teen boys called ManKINDness, which teaches them values and respect for women and girls.

Click here for more information.

Contact Us