A local man accused of soliciting an undercover McLennan County Sheriff's Office detective for prostitution was arrested Monday at a local motel Monday, authorities said.
Joshua Palmer, 40, of Robinson, was booked on two third-degree felony charges of prostitution and promotion of prostitution.
Sheriff Parnell McNamara said that when the man arrived at the motel, he was met by the detective who had posed as the woman whom Palmer propositioned to engage in sex acts for money.
Detective Joseph Scaramucci said his online conversations with Palmer began about a week ago, with Scaramucci posing as a sex worker. He said Palmer wanted to meet with the woman, offered "to be her pimp" and wanted to videotape sex acts to post online.
Scaramucci said Palmer proposed to split the expected proceeds from the pornography between himself and the woman. Palmer arrived at the motel with digital recording devices and a computer, he said.
Scaramucci, the sheriff's office lead human trafficking investigator, said while the global COVID-19 pandemic may have changed daily habits, human trafficking platforms have also changed. He said victims of sex trafficking are often more vulnerable when finances are troubled.
"Financial instability does make people more vulnerable and susceptible to being preyed on by people like this and those who are willing to sexually exploit them for their own benefit," Scaramucci said. "We will continue to show that we will be there to intervene and hold those seeking to exploit our citizens accountable."