More Than 500 Arrested In California Human Trafficking Operation

Authored by Marc Olsen via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A statewide human trafficking crackdown this month netted more than 500 arrests and rescued dozens of people, including juveniles, authorities said Jan. 31 during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Los Angeles on Aug. 17, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

The 539 suspects included 40 alleged sex traffickers and 271 alleged “sex buyers,” officials said. Among the rescued were 54 adults and 11 minors, including a 14-year-old girl.

“This week-long operation demonstrates that if you engage in human trafficking activities, harm our children, and destroy lives, there will be absolute consequences, and there is no refuge for predators in the state of California,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said during the press conference in front of City Hall.

The operation was conducted from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27.

It was unclear how many suspects were from Los Angeles, but Mr. Luna described one undercover sting along Holt Avenue in Pomona, about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, that nabbed 12 men on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes.

Mr. Luna also told of a San Diego County incident in which a man approached a teenage girl at an El Cajon mall, urged her to become a model, and gave her a business card.

When she called, she learned the work involved “date sex” at hotels. She told her mother, who called authorities, and the man was arrested.

Mr. Luna said the operation—known as Reclaim and Rebuild—is conducted every January. This year, it included 95 federal, state, and local agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department and LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Joining Mr. Luna at the news conference was LA County District Attorney George Gascón.

Mr. Gascón told local television station KABC that prosecuting sex traffickers and sex buyers is difficult because victims sometimes are afraid to testify.


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