Trinity Mount Ministries

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Valley agencies take part in human trafficking sting where 339 were arrested:

339 people arrested in statewide human trafficking sting

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 11:22PM
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --

It's a problem closer to home than we think.
"Many if not most of our victims are home grown born in the U.S. or in California. They come from our backyard," said Lt. Daniel Stanley with the LA County Sheriff's Office.

In a three-day operation starting Jan. 24, 20 agencies teamed up to crackdown on human trafficking.

Operation reclaim and rebuild.
"It's a way for us to help victims of human trafficking reclaim and rebuild their lives," Lt. Stanley said.

Valley Agencies including Tulare County, Fresno and Merced Police took part.

"No longer is it primarily a drug issue, a homeless issue or a foster issue it's a problem for everyone no matter when you're at," said Debra Rush, founder and CEO of Breaking the Chains.

Rush says non profits like her's work hand in hand with law enforcement to stop the cycle of human trafficking by providing trauma treatment services.

"They can intercept and provide victims with the critical services they need in that moment it can be something as simple as food and shelter," she said.
In Fresno alone the Economic Opportunities Commission identified 104 human trafficking victims from the start of 2018 to date.

During the operation Fresno Police arrested 18 people, but they found their biggest success in the three victims they were able to rescue.

In Tulare County the human trafficking task force executed several sting operations in Visalia, Tulare, and Porterville boasting 10 arrests -- 5 for prostitution and 5 for solicitation.

In the north Valley with Merced Police, a sting led to 20 arrests one of those paired with the rescue of a underage girl.

"We found evidence he was basically forcing her to participate. So basically pimping her out," said Sgt. Luis Solis.

Because their sting was so successful, they've continued it past the operation, making an additional 4 arrests. One as recent as 6 hours before an interview with Action News took place.

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