During the weeklong operation, 29 arrests were made and 23 victims were offered support services
SAN DIEGO – During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the results of a statewide human trafficking operation called “Reclaim and Rebuild”. The San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force (SDHTTF), the Fresno Human Trafficking Sexual Predator Apprehension (HT-SPAT) and the Sacramento HT-SPAT teams participated in the multi-jurisdictional operation, which concluded earlier this month and is part of a broader, regional effort to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation through targeted enforcement. The operation relied both on surveillance of known locations and officers working undercover with local, state, and federal agencies. As a result of the multi-day operation, 29 individuals were arrested for alleged human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other criminal offenses and 23 individuals were offered support services. The arrests have been referred to their respective County District Attorney’s Office for potential criminal prosecution.
“Our office is committed to working every day, and dedicating every month of the year to providing human trafficking victims services and apprehending and arresting their traffickers,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Through Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, we’re fighting to hold perpetrators accountable and help survivors get a fresh start. I’m thankful to all our partners who work collaboratively with the SDHTTF and HT-SPAT and I’m proud of our office’s work to help uplift vulnerable Californians. When we work together, we get results.”
Through Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, the task forces sought to both hold perpetrators accountable and provide support services to victims and survivors to empower them — and help them regain their independence. During the operation, law enforcement personnel conducted targeted surveillance of areas known for sexual exploitation and utilizing various investigative techniques to directly identify and stop alleged human trafficking and sexual exploitation in real time. Simultaneously, law enforcement went after sex buyers by posing as individuals offering sex for sale at those same locations. Sex buyers were then generally directed to an alternate location and arrested. Among other alleged violations, arrests during the operation ranged from human trafficking of a minor to intent to commit lewd acts with a child. All of the potential victims and survivors were offered access to resources and supportive services.
SDHTTF is a cooperative effort involving the California Department of Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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, Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. In addition to serving as the lead agency on the SDHTTF, the California Department of Justice has two regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams serving Northern California and Southern California.
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery where perpetrators profit from the control and exploitation of adults and children for sex or labor through force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking does not require movement across borders. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were more than 1,300 human trafficking cases reported in California in 2021 — more than any other state in the nation. In California, human trafficking is prevalent in the hospitality, commercial sex, domestic work, and construction industries. Victims of human trafficking are also found among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, providers of residential care, and in California’s garment sector.
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to access help and services. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Additional information and resources to support survivors of human trafficking is available here.