Authorities cracking down on sex crimes during Offshore Technology Conference in Houston
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Tens of thousands of people from all over the world are in Houston this week for the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference, otherwise known as the OTC.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is making sure visitors know that there are serious consequences if they are caught taking part in illegal activities outside of the conference.
It appears this is a warning for those attending OTC at Reliant Park. HCSO officials say you will be prosecuted if you are caught buying or selling sex.
HCSO even released a public service announcement.
"The majority of sex trafficking victims are females," Sheriff Adrian Garcia said in the PSA. "Many are underage girls."
The sheriff's goal is to remind you that buying and selling sex is illegal.
"Whether you solicit online or on the streets, you are going to be caught," Garcia said.
Julie Waters is with Free the Captives, a Houston nonprofit group working to end sex slavery and other forms of human trafficking. She says about 100 volunteers will be handing out about 3,000 fliers Tuesday night as folks from the conference attend OTC Night at the Astros game.
"If you want to effectively fight sex trafficking, you have to go to the root of the issue, and that's the buyers," Waters said.
Waters says human trafficking has historically spiked during the annual oil and gas conference.
Veteran OTC attendees know the sex business is never too far away from the event. A quick check of Craiglist shows several ads from men who say they're in town for the conference and looking for a good time.
Waters tells us they approached the sheriff and the Harris County District Attorney's Office about launching this campaign to publicize law enforcement's intention of cracking down on sex trafficking.
"They need to be warned," Waters said. "If you are going to go out and buy sex, you will be arrested, gain a criminal record and you could possibly lose your family and job."
A spokesperson for OTC would not comment on this issue, telling us it is not in their "domain."
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