Sex trafficking is a serious offense in Texas and one that has been on the radar of Governor Greg Abbott this year.
Recently, a North Texas man was accused of manipulating hundreds of women as part of a North Texas sex trafficking ring. He was also charged with compelling prostitution, money laundering, and tampering with evidence, reported the Dallas Morning News.
Tremont Blakemore, 39, was arrested in September. He was jailed in Dallas County and is being held in lieu of $1.25 million bail.
The Morning News reported police arrested Blakemore, as well as Peaches Hurtado and Donna Gonzalez at a Fort Worth home in September. Each defendant was charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized criminal activity.
The additional charges against Blakemore were filed at a later date. His bail more than doubled.
After the arrest of Blakemore, officials found 11 women in the Fort Worth home and another four in a location in Lancaster, according to the report.
Officials claim Blakemore may have manipulated hundreds of women in cities across Texas and trafficked women from Wyoming, Maine and Montana.
Earlier this year, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott announced sweeping proposals intended to protect Texans from sex trafficking as well as taking aim at sexual misconduct allegations at the Texas Capitol and in state government.
The governor’s “Preventing Crime, Protecting Texans, Punishing Criminals” proposals included the allocation of $22 million to the Department of Public Safety to set up regional squads. These units investigate human trafficking cases and provide additional training to local law enforcement officers.
Abbott also said he wanted to target the state’s massive backlog of sexual assault evidence kits. He called on lawmakers to allocate another $14 million in the next two-year budget to clear the backlog.
An investigation in the Texas Tribune revealed how state policies — including a badly underfunded child welfare system — failed to help child sex-trafficking victims in the state.
Abbott proposed 13 recommendations including stricter sentences for people who force victims into prostitution and increasing the penalties for the kidnapping of a child.
Sex trafficking is seen as a major issue in Texas. Since 2009, the Department of Public Safety initiated over 100 criminal investigations into child trafficking, sexual abuse and other related offenses. The department rescued more than 250 trafficked children as part of a program aimed at identifying youngsters at risk.
The federal government imposes strict penalties on people who are convicted of sex trafficking and human trafficking. Legislation includes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
People accused of sex trafficking face a potentially long prison sentence imposed by the federal courts. If you or a family member has been accused of this offense, please call our Dallas criminal defense team at (214) 720-9552.