Sex worker. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons
Sex worker. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Nearly 200 people were arrested during a recent countywide enforcement operation that focused on the rescue and recovery of children who were sexually exploited commercially, authorities said Thursday.

The joint law enforcement operation, dubbed Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, was conducted from Jan. 18 through Jan. 23, and took place during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Participating in the effort were members of the LAPD Detective Support and Vice Division Human Trafficking Unit; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Human Trafficking Task Force; and the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force.

Vice investigators across the county conducted field operations to raise the public awareness of human trafficking by searching for potential sex trafficking victims, rescuing them and attempting to locate and arrest those who exploited them.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 198 potential human trafficking suspects taken into custody, the LAPD reported. Six pimps were arrested and 12 minors were rescued who had been trafficked for the purposes of sexual slavery.

Six adults were also identified as trafficking victims and received appropriate victim services. All recovered minors were placed in protective custody and will receive assistance and social services from the Department of Children and Family Services, as well as other non-governmental organizations.

“Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was extremely successful and the quantity of arrests sends a strong message to the community that human trafficking is not tolerated,” the LAPD said in a statement. “Most importantly, the operation provided 18 victims of sexual exploitation the opportunity and ability to reclaim their freedom and rebuild their lives.”

Anyone with more information on this case or any other crimes related to human trafficking, pimping, and pandering were asked to contact the LAPD Detective Lina Teague of the Human Trafficking Unit at (213) 486-0957.

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

—City News Service

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