Carl Pittman Addresses Burgeoning Human Trafficking Crime In Harris County


Pittman pledges to fight ignored and dangerous slave and prostitution industry

HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS – Carl Pittman, Republican candidate for Harris County Sheriff, addressed the need to fight the human trafficking problem plaguing Harris County. Human trafficking, the modern day slave trade, uses Harris County as its hub of operations and are often run by illegal immigrants importing other illegal immigrants to serve as sex workers. Harris County’s ease of access to Asia and Latin America have made its location attractive for such criminal activities. Pittman pledged to deliver the leadership needed to combat and prevent the human slave trade in Harris County and deliver safety and rule of law to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Harris County is plagued with underground brothels, causing harm to communities and the victims of these horrific crimes. “If you drive down any major thoroughfare in the county, you will notice store fronts with blacked out windows and security cameras,” Pittman said. “Some claim to be 24 hour spas or modeling studios, but the truth is that they harbor a dangerous and immoral criminal element.”

Illegal immigrants from around the world, using models based upon brothels in Mexico and Asia, flock to Harris County to open brothels, often in the most economically depressed neighborhoods. Human traffickers coerce young women, many of whom are minors, into entering the United States illegally, promising a lucrative career. However, the young women and girls are trapped in a life of prostitution. The Houston Chronicle discovered in 2008 an illegal brothel at the 7900 block of Clinton Drive. Illegal immigrant Gerardo Salazar held young women, many of whom as young as 16, captive in a small bar. Bar patrons would engage in prostitution in a warehouse behind the bar, netting Salazar $50 per transaction[1]. Girls are unwilling to call authorities, citing fear of retribution for betraying their dangerous captures.

Despite the horrific abuse of human traffickers in Harris County, the current authorities have not worked to end this abusive nightmare. Judicial watch indicates illegal immigrant brothel owners such as Maria Rojas operated two brothels, La Costenita and El Club Restaurante in Houston. Over the past five years, local law enforcement logged 60 inbound complaints about the two brothels, resulting in 12 arrests for prostitution, 20 cases of assault, including four shootings and a narcotics arrest[2].

Local law enforcement refused to enforced the law. The brothels remained open, despite awareness of Rojas and her business partners’ undocumented immigration status.

“This open mockery of the law cannot be tolerated,” Pittman commented. “Local law enforcement has a duty to protect and serve.”

1 Lise Olsen. Houston Chronicle. “Bars that were Bases for Sex Ring Still Open for Business” 7 September 2008.

Pittman highlighted his plans for battling human sex trafficking after winning the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Pittman outlined his plan, aimed at ridding the county of its blemished record on the human slave trade. His proposal includes:

  • Expanding VICE programs aimed at busting the illegal prostitution trade by finding savings in the office’s bloated budget
  • Stop adhering to sanctuary city policies which turn a blind eye to the growing human sex slave industry
  • Refocus the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on law enforcement and not personal politics

Sadly, local officers and deputies are aware of the sex-trade but are forbidden from addressing the problem due to counter productive top-down policies of the current administration. Pittman will provide the tough on crime leadership needed to fight this dangerous practice. As sheriff, Pittman will work for justice, ensuring the office is focused on stopping and preventing this dangerous industry and blight on the county.