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Lawmakers, Charities React to North Texas Sex Trafficking Bust

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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.

“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.

Osborn is optimistic the recent bust in Frisco and Southlake will deter others.

“This is a crime and it’s not a victimless crime,” Osborne said.

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