Child sex trafficking has long been decried as a particularly heinous crime, and law enforcement agencies across the nation have recently devoted added resources to bringing criminals to justice. Now, it seems they’re seeing the fruits of their labor.
As reported by Fox News on Tuesday, an investigation into a Florida trafficking ring has ended with hundreds of suspects facing arrest and criminal charges.
The Tallahassee Police Department had reportedly been working with personnel from multiple federal agencies in the pursuit of what it dubbed Operation Stolen Innocence. The agency’s chief provided preliminary details in a press release.
“This investigation is a testament to how diligent our investigators work to enhance the quality of life for everyone in this community, especially our vulnerable population,” Lawrence Revell explained.
Revell went on to credit officers and agents for working “tirelessly to bring justice to the victim in this case” as well as making “an unprecedented number” of related arrests.
“I could not be prouder of the steadfast efforts of our investigators and the joint effort with our partners to stop the illegal and dehumanizing practice of human trafficking,” Revell declared.
His straightforward reaction included the acknowledgment that such crimes are “going on in our community,” stressing that local law enforcement agencies “need to address this and we know it takes state and federal partners.”
“It’s hard to believe”
In its own report, Fox News noted that the operation began roughly two years ago upon the discovery of an underage girl featured in an online advertisement for sex. After she was rescued, authorities said she assisted them in identifying the perpetrators.
As of the most recent reports available, 106 individuals are facing state felony charges, and another 72 have been charged with misdemeanor counts. State Attorney’s Office Felony Chief Lorena Vollrath-Bueno noted that the successful operation has helped expose a pervasive and prevalent problem in our society.
“I know it’s hard to believe that something like this happens here in our community,” she said, according to Fox. “But it does.”
The Trump administration has also made the fight against human trafficking a priority, as explained in a statement released last month.
Among the achievements touted in the statement were doubling the Justice Department’s level of funding for these probes compared to the Obama administration as well as approving the largest DOJ “grant package in history to combat human trafficking, including the first-ever grants for safe housing for survivors.”