BELL COUNTY - Five men have been arrested for online solicitation in the last two weeks in Bell County.
On Monday, Jan.16 Temple police picked up James David Butler and Paulo Tescari. The next day they picked up Ty Termaine Rice. On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Harker Heights Police arrested Shane Edward Pagel and the Killeen Police Department arrested Fernando Souchet.
None of the arrests, however, were the result of a local investigation. Instead the arrests were the result of online investigations in the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office. Hamilton County could not comment on the particulars of their investigations, but have been finding individuals soliciting minors from around several counties in Central Texas.
Local Traffick911 spokeswoman Laura Palmer says people who attempt to buy sex online can often be working for human trafficking groups. She says their are a variety of ways solicitors, who turn out to be pimps, can force their victims into sexual slavery.
"There's different ways that the pimps will go about it from drugging them to... anything..raping them of threatening them. Or through their online communications they've convinced this child to send them nude photos of them self so they will use that as a kind of leverage," Palmer said.
Palmer says the best way to combat human trafficking is for parents to constantly monitor their children's social media use. There is a list of particularly dangerous apps for kids available on this website.