Hundreds of people were arrested and dozens of sexually exploited children and adult victims were rescued across California during a statewide operation to combat human trafficking, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday.
More than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces, including the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, participated in the third annual “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” enforcement operation, according to a sheriff’s news release.
The statewide operation took place over the three-day period between last Thursday and Saturday.
In total, 474 arrests were made, including 142 males on solicitation charges, and 36 males on suspicion of pimping, according to figures provided by the Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, 28 commercially and sexually exploited children and 27 adult victims were rescued.
“You are worthy of more. And we will work tirelessly with our partners … to provide you services and help you rebuild your life,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, addressing the victims during a news conference on Tuesday.
The minors who were recovered during the operation were being cared for by various children and family services agencies across the state, according to sheriff’s officials. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and the Saving Innocence organization were coordinating efforts to help victims in L.A. County.
“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild focused on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, providing victims with much-needed services, identifying and arresting their captors, seeking successful prosecutions, and disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers,” the release stated.
“Police agencies and other trafficking task forces throughout our state joined in the enforcement operation to send the clear message that California law enforcement shares a unified mandate: Human trafficking must not be tolerated in our state!”
Authorities did not release the names of any of those arrested. No other information about the operation was immediately provided.
Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect surname for the L.A. County sheriff. The story has been updated.