CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Six men were arrested as the result of an anti-prostitution sting conducted by the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Investigations Division.
"Although often inaccurately referred to as a 'victimless' crime, prostitution is inextricably linked to multiple other crimes including assault, human trafficking, sexual abuse, drug abuse, and the spread of sexually transmitted infectious disease," according to the CCPD Blotter.
Police say the men were arrested Tuesday after they solicited an undercover officer for sex acts in exchange for money.
The offense is now considered a felony under a new Texas law, and is punishable by up to two years in jail and fines up to $10,000, according to police.
HB1540 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June and went into effect on Sept. 1. The new law is meant to deter those who pay for sex, in an attempt to shift blame away from those who engage in prostitution, many of whom are often victims of trafficking.
“We know the demand is the driving force behind human trafficking,” said Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson, the author of the bill. “If we can curb or stamp out the demand end of it, then we can save the lives of numerous persons.”
The men will be required to take part in the Red Cord Program, which is a prostitution diversion program that provides support for those involved in prostitution and is a result of a collaboration between Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, social service organizations, the Nueces County District Attorney Office and the Corpus Christi Police Department.
"This program educates men about the negative consequences of prostitution, circumstances that may lead someone to purchase sex, and the impact they have on the individual they attempt to solicit sex from in exchange for money," says the CCPD Blotter. "The fees raised from this program are then used to provide some of the resources mentioned above, to assist women seeking to escape the bondage of prostitution."
Those who complete the program will have their cases dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office.