California anti-human trafficking operation nets 368 arrests
LOS ANGELES - An anti-human trafficking operation in California resulted in the arrests of 368 people, law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.
82 law enforcement agencies, along with victim advocacy groups, conducted a statewide operation focusing on the rescue of ‘commercially sexually exploited victims and the apprehension of their exploiters.’
The operation, which was conducted from January 22 through January 28 in nine counties, led to the arrests of 368 people for various criminal charges, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. 116 people were arrested by LAPD.
195 exploiters were arrested, six minors were rescued, and 125 adults were identified as trafficking victims, officials said.
"The victims' ages in this operation were found to be between 13 and 52 years of age, with six of them being juveniles," Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference at the LAPD Elysian Park Academy.
"The average age of most victims was in their mid-20s, and our investigators worked diligently alongside our victim advocacy groups in providing these victims with services and resources to help them escape from this life-threatening environment."
Moore noted that "in the old days," the victims of human traffickers were often regarded by law enforcement as criminals, but a more modern attitude is to regard them as having been exploited by criminals -- many of them having been kidnapped and held against their will.
According to the LAPD, all recovered minors were placed in protective custody and will receive assistance along with all trafficking victims.
Anyone with information on this crime or any other crimes related to Human Trafficking should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).
City News Service contributed to this report