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Switching Criminal Careers

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

It's a cold hard fact we might as well acknowledge...there's no known way of stopping one of the oldest professions on the streets of Houston.

"If you're willing to do it that first time you've already done it you'll do it again."

We talked to these women who have all in the last year sold their bodies as prostitutes on the streets of Houston.

They know there is a demand for sex...and they know there are men lined up to control them as pimps...That's because sex trafficking, prostitution, or tricking is a lucrative business.

Shirley Maxwell, who once worked the streets, says, "they'll turn you on to the tricks. They probably have a trick over there with money they'll turn you on to the tricks and that's how he makes his money too pimping you out."

But officials with the FBI office in Houston say they're seeing a noticeable trend. Investigators say the dope man is getting out of the drug game and moving over to prostitution.

They're leaving behind the risk of heavy prison sentences for a chance at fast cash serving as a pimp over a stable of women on streets like Bissonnet.

The women we spoke with agree 100% with the trend the feds are seeing.

Jackie once worked as a prostitute. She says, "He (pimp) is safer and he can't get caught up doing it like that the women will get caught up...he's in the background, he's out of the picture."

Maxwell says, "I think it's easier to deal women because they do the money exchange and he just sets it up and so if someone gets caught it's going to be the guy and the prostitute."

Shauna Dunlap with the FBI says, "human beings (prostitutes) are a reusable commodity. So they (pimps) can continue to make money off these girls over and over again...unlike a drug shipment."

In the meantime, those on the streets also say while the dope man is making that transition to prostitution...it happens very very slow. The ladies say in some cases the pimp does both where it's like one stop shopping. He has the girls and the drugs and usually the girls and their johns are also getting high.

Maxwell says, "if I turn a trick right here today I'm going straight to the dope man. I get out of the car the next five minutes I'm going to the dope man."

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