(LibertySociety.com) – On January 29, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced the arrest of 539 people involved in a human trafficking operation. Authorities rescued 65 individuals, which included 11 children, during Operation Reclaim and Rebuild. Forty of the individuals arrested were wanton “traffickers or exploiters,” while 271 were arrested for paying for encounters. During his remarks, Luna said that “the most vulnerable members of our community” are preyed upon by the traffickers. The operation has been ongoing for the last decade and includes agencies from the local, state, and federal levels. The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force was also involved in the operation.
Human trafficking often occurs during large sporting events. The CEO of Saving Innocence, Alan Smyth, reported that incidents of human trafficking increased just before the 2020 World Series, which took place in Los Angeles. He said that his group expects a similar uptick at the NFL Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada. The city’s Metro Police is partnering with nonprofit organizations ahead of the game to spread the word about local resources for victims. The police will also be targeting potential buyers and those who are attempting to pimp out trafficked individuals.
Signs of HOPE CEO Kimberly Small said that the nonprofit would place most of its focus on the Human Trafficking and Advocate Law Enforcement Response (ALERT) hotlines. The nonprofit also has a program called Resources and Integration for Survivor Empowerment (RISE). Staff members from the program will be working alongside Metro Police leading up to and during the Super Bowl. Nevada ranks in the top 10 for human trafficking among minors. Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill made clear that human trafficking is an everyday occurrence, but that more victims are found during large events due to increased resources. Nearly 450,000 people are expected to arrive in Las Vegas ahead of the game, which Small said would undoubtedly cause an uptick in trafficking.
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