Los Angeles: Operation Reclaim & Rebuild Arrests Nearly 500 In Human Sex Trafficking Operation Sting During Super Bowl Week

Human Trafficking

During a press conference on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced details and results from the seventh annual Operation Reclaim and Rebuild enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and more than 80 participating federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and task forces from across California.  The week-long, statewide effort aimed at combatting human trafficking took place between Sunday, February 6, and Saturday, February 12, 2022, and was conducted in various mediums and met with positive results.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva was joined by executives and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office, Santa Ana Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office, Saving Innocence, Zoe International and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

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.  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!

In preparation for the event, an operational planning meeting took place in Los Angeles, with over 200 federal, state and municipal law enforcement detectives from all over California in attendance.  Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place, from confronting the reality of sidewalk prostitution by conducting demand operations, to challenging the virtual reality of the cyber world where traffickers believe they can operate anonymously using the internet. 

The internet furnishes a vast variety of opportunities for traffickers, but with the experience of specially-trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who were anxious to exploit found their plans foiled. 

Victims encountered during enforcement efforts were cared for by personnel from various Department of Children and Family Services Agencies and victim service providers in each county.  In Los Angeles County, South Los Angeles Anti-Trafficking Committee, comprised of Saving Innocence, Zoe International, Journey Out and many other local service providers coordinated the emergency services response for victim care and collaborated with similar, non-governmental victim service organizations throughout the state.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was widely successful in its endeavor with 65 adult and 7 minor victims being recovered; 182 males arrested for the charge of Solicitation; and 30 suspected traffickers and exploiters were arrested.  In total, 413 arrests were made. 

Sheriff Villanueva relayed the mission, efforts and results of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, he gave a firm direction to the Victims, he reiterated, “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and our partners stand with each victim of this heinous crime.  You are the focus of this endeavor.  We are here for you.  We are here to help you reclaim your freedom from the binds of sex trafficking, and to provide you the support and tools to rebuildyour lives.”

 To the traffickers and solicitors: “We will not tolerate the enslavement and trafficking of others in any form.  We will seek you out and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

  To the Johns:  “Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.”

The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, which oversaw the coordinated effort, defined the undertaking, “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild is a state-wide operation which displays the mutual commitment of California law enforcement, social service agencies, and victim service providers in the fight to end sex trafficking.   The L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force is an example of how individual entities can be far more effective, when they join together in a shared mission.  Today, 7 children have been rescued from their exploiters and 65 women have been connected with the services necessary to rebuild their lives, free from exploitation.”

The Executive Director, Alan Smyth from “Saving Innocence” challenged the media by stating “Human Trafficking happens all year long, every day. The big sporting event just left town but you know what? We haven’t left town and we are going to be here every single day in combating this incredible, brutal crime that has been perpetrated on our most vulnerable. So the biggest mistake we can make would be turning off our cameras and not writing anymore articles because somehow we think human trafficking is gone because the Super Bowl is not here anymore. I want to stand before you and tell you, it has not gone away.”  

“From top to bottom, California is committed to the fight against human trafficking,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We’re working all across the state to hold accountable those who use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit people for labor or sex, and provide services to those they victimize. Our teams — whether in San Diego, Fresno, or Sacramento — are on the ground day-in and day-out to secure justice, and protect and help heal those who are abused and exploited. We’re proud to continue to support our partners through Operation Reclaim and Rebuild. Together, we’re helping build safer communities for all.”

The following agencies and task forces participated:

L.A. Regional Human Trafficking Task Force

Operation Reclaim & Rebuild

2022 Participants

Human Trafficking Task Forces

Contra Costa County Human Trafficking Task Force

          Concord Police Department

          Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office

          Contra Costa County Probation Department

          Contra Costa County, Office of the Sheriff

          El Cerrito Police Department

          FBI Safe Streets (Contra Costa County)

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Lafayette Police Department

          Martinez Police Department

          Pittsburg Police Department

          Richmond Police Department

          San Pablo Police Department

          San Ramon Police Department

          Walnut Creek Police Department

Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force        

          California Attorney General

          California Highway Patrol

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Inglewood Police Department

          LA County District Attorney’s Office

          LA County Probation Department

          LA County Sheriff’s Department

          Los Angeles Airport Police

          United States Attorney’s Office

Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force 

          Anaheim Police Department

          California Highway Patrol

          Irvine Police Department

          Orange County District Attorney’s Office

          Orange County Sheriff’s Department

          Santa Ana Police Department

Placer Special Operation Unit   

          Lincoln Police Department

          Placer County Sheriff’s Office

          Rocklin Police Department

Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force        

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

          Riverside Police Department

San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force     

          California Highway Patrol

          California State Parole

          Homeland Security Investigations

          San Bernardino County Probation Department

          San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force

          California Department of Justice – Attorney General’s Office

          California Highway Patrol

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          Homeland Security Investigations

          National City Police Department

          San Diego City Attorney’s Office

          San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

          San Diego County Probation Department

          San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

          San Diego Police Department

          United States Attorney’s Office

San Luis Obispo County Human Trafficking Task Force   

          California Department of Justice

          California Highway Patrol – Coastal Division

          Federal Bureau of Investigations

          San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office

          San Luis Obispo County Probation Department

          San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

          San Luis Obispo Police Department

Santa Barbara County Human Trafficking Task Force        

          Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office

          Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department

          Santa Barbara Police Department

          Santa Maria Police Department

Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force   

          California Department of Justice, Fresno SPAT Unit

          Tulare County District Attorney’s Office

          Tulare County Sheriff’s Department

          Tulare Police Department

          Visalia Police Department

Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force

          California State University Channel Islands

          Homeland Security Investigations

          Simi Valley Police Department

          Ventura County District Attorney’s Office

          Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Agencies

Brentwood Police Department**  

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Parole)     

Chula Vista Police Department    

Costa Mesa Police Department   

Fresno Police Department  

Huntington Beach Police Department  

Laguna Beach Police Department

Long Beach Police Department   

Merced Police Department 

Modesto Police Department

Napa County Sheriff’s Department       

Oakdale Police Department         

Pittsburg Police Department**      

Pomona Police Department

Sacramento Police Department   

San Francisco Police Department        

Santa Ana Police Department**   

Solano County Sheriff’s Department    

Stanislaus County Probation         Department

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department        

Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office  

Suisun City Police Department    

Turlock Police Department  

Vacaville Police Department        

Vallejo Police Department   

**Agency participated with task force and independently

To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life.

Proverbs 6:24-26

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Author: MJTruth