The results of a weeklong, statewide multi-agency response team that was unveiled on February 1 led to the arrest of 368 individuals and the rescue of 131 victims implicated in human trafficking.
According to Chief Michel Moore of the Police Department of Los Angeles (LAPD), “We realize that the sex industry is a booming one that occurs across this state all through our country.” “It’s an unsightly scar on this magnificent country that exists too sometimes in plain sight,” said the president of the United States.
Moore said during a press conference held at the department’s Elysian Park Academy that Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was carried out in nine counties between the dates of January 22 and January 28. These counties included Los Angeles, Orange, & San Bernardino, among others.
The Los Angeles Police Department, the LA County Sheriff’s Department, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office were only three of the many local, state, and federal law enforcement organizations that collaborated on the investigation. Other agencies included the FBI, DEA, and ATF.
Moore said that the ages of the victims varied from 13 to 52, with six of the victims being youngsters, and that the average age was in the middle of their 20s.
Investigators collaborated with victim advocacy organizations to provide assistance and resources “to assist [victims] in escaping from this life-threatening situation,” as the spokesperson put it.
The investigators reacted to a variety of advertising providing sexual services & went to sex shops that were suspected of being engaged in human trafficking. Moore said that the people arrested included buyers of prostitution and other forms of prostitution as well as the prostitutes and panderers who provided the services.
Moore claims that the victims are used by the trafficker by “threat of death,” compulsion, or threats made against their family; in addition, some of the victims are abducted and separated from their prior support system in order to become reliant on the trafficker.
Moore pointed out that “in the old days,” law enforcement frequently regarded the subjects of human traffickers as criminals. However, a more contemporary attitude is to consider them as having been abused by criminals, with many of them having been taken and held against their will. Moore noted that “in the old days,” law enforcement frequently regarded the victims of traffickers as criminals.
The authorities emphasized that the seven-day task force is merely a part of the daily effort that law enforcement agencies are doing to fight sex trafficking.
According to David Cox, the Chief Operating Officer of ZOE International, a nonprofit organization located in Los Angeles that helps victims rehabilitate after they have been rescued both locally and globally, victims are occasionally brought in from other states or countries.
Cox said that his company, in partnership with a similar charity located in Los Angeles called Saving Innocents, had provided treatment for 489 juvenile sex trafficking victims over the course of the previous year. Some of these victims were as young as 11 years old.
He said that rapes of children were occurring between 20 and 30 times each day in our city.
According to Cox, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization Journey Out, which works to eradicate human trafficking, provided treatment for 256 adult victims in 2017.
He added that the sex trade is a brutal profession since some of the captives have been pistol-whipped, pursued down and assaulted, leaped out of moving cars to escape, gone missing, or lost their lives. He also said that some of the victims have died.
“Traffickers are expert predators. “They’re looking for youngsters and people who are particularly vulnerable,” he added.