Written by Bobbie Wylie
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Monday that eight arrests were made last week in a five day long undercover sting operation in the San Diego-area targeting prostitution.
The multi-agency San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force concluded their countywide sting operation on Friday, during which law enforcement officers worked undercover responding to unlawful online advertisements posing as customers seeking illegal sex services.
“Operation Home for the Holidays is about holding traffickers accountable and helping people extricate themselves from potentially dangerous situations,” Attorney General Bonta said. “We all deserve to have a safe place to call home during the holidays — and throughout the entire year.”
During the countywide crackdown, law enforcement personnel made arrests for alleged pandering, pimping, and other offenses, as well as offering support and services to 26 potential victims of human trafficking. Suspect names have not been released at this time.
Child Welfare Services were on scene during the sting operation, to assist in the event that undercover law enforcement officers encountered any underage human trafficking victims.
Particularly lax border policies have led to an uptick of crime in cities like San Diego, and there is significant concern regarding human sex trafficking across the US-Mexico Border. Unlike drug smuggling, human trafficking is difficult to prosecute, as the victim has to produce evidence of force or coercion.
According to the FBI, San Diego is among one of the top child-prostitution regions in the nation, with two others being the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas.
The multi-agency San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force is made up of officers from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, California State Department of Justice, the US Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, San Diego County Probation Department, the San Diego Police Department, and the National City Police Department.
Photo Cred: FBI