450 held, dozens rescued in California trafficking crackdown
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A statewide operation to fight human trafficking in California led to 450 arrests and the rescue of dozens of victims, including 13 children, authorities announced Thursday.
“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” involved 100 federal, state and local law enforcement agents conducting a week-long effort that ended on Monday.
The operation rescued 39 victims who were forced or tricked into sex work or other labor, authorities said.
Thirteen children were rescued, including a 15-year-old girl reported missing from Nevada who was found after San Luis Obispo County investigators arranged a meeting through an online sex ad, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Hannemann said at a news conference. Her alleged trafficker was captured, he said.
In South Los Angeles, two underage girls, another woman and three men were detained after police stopped a car “engaging in possible commercial sex activity,” Hanneman said.
“California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in our country, with Los Angeles still a hotbed of activity,” City Councilman John Lee said during the news conference “Now criminal street gangs have gotten involved because it’s become more lucrative than trafficking weapons and drugs.”
Last year, “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” ended with 518 arrests and the rescue of 87 victims.