Houston – In the days leading up to the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference, the Precinct One Harris County Constable’s Office conducted an undercover initiative targeting prostitution and human trafficking in Houston.
As a result of this proactive effort on May 2 and 3, 14 people have been arrested, including 13 suspected prostitutes and one alleged pimp.
The operation was conducted at an undisclosed location in Houston. Investigators answered online ads, resulting in each of the suspects arriving at that agreed upon address. Each of the women agreed to have sex for money.
In one case, the suspected pimp, Colby Bankhead, 24, drove the woman to the hotel, along with two children whom they share. The children are 9 months and two years old. It was approximately 11:30 pm. Investigators say the woman went upstairs leaving the children with Bankhead, who later left the children alone in the vehicle when he left to check on her.
Bankhead was arrested following a brief foot chase after entering the hotel. Investigators contacted CPS, which is now conducting its own simultaneous investigation focusing on the safety of the children. Bankhead is charged with evading arrest/detention. Additional charges may be added at a future date. At the moment there are no criminal charges related to the abandonment or endangerment of the children.
The thirteen women arrested were each interviewed by members of the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Human Trafficking Division as investigators are working to determine if they can be characterized as victims of human or sex trafficking. Some are voluntarily taking part now in a recovery program offered through Precinct One.
“We should never forget that some women are coerced into “The Life” of prostitution through threats or violence,” said Constable Alan Rosen. “We want to help those who cannot help themselves.”
If you are aware of anyone who might be a victim of human trafficking, you can call the Precinct One Human Trafficking Hotline at (832) 927-1650.