The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and more than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces from across California have arrested 474 child predators involved in a massive pedophile ring.
Additionally, 28 commercially and sexually-exploited children and 27 adult victims were rescued during the third annual three-day statewide sting operation to combat human trafficking, aka Operation Reclaim and Rebuild.
Jim McDonnell, Los Angeles County Sheriff, said in a statement:
“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers.
“Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state.”
Investigators say as part of the sting, undercover law enforcement officers posed as prostitutes on street corners, while specially-trained cyber detectives posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers.
Joseph Macias, the special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles, added:
“Our goal in this unprecedented collaborative enforcement effort was two-fold. First, to provide vital services to any sex trafficking victims we encountered, so they can begin to reclaim and rebuild their lives.
“Second, to start the process to reclaim and rebuild the neighborhoods that have been degraded by organized prostitution schemes which not only exploit the vulnerable, but also often draw other criminal enterprises into the area.”
While McDonnell said the arrests represent a “very sad commentary on the condition we’re dealing with,” Mara Elliott, San Diego City attorney, insisted “pretending this issue doesn’t exist only makes us more complicit in it.” They are absolutely right.
— Becki (@becki_p20) January 29, 2017
Last month, Uber driver Keith Avila helped rescue a 16-year-old girl out of sex trafficking in Sacramento, California. He may have saved an unlucky girl from the shackles of child prostitution, but what about the others who are less fortunate?