Attorney General Bonta, San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force Announce Results of Operation Home for the Holidays

Thursday, December 8, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SAN DIEGO – As part of a joint investigation through the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force (SDHTTF), California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the results of Operation Home for the Holidays. The annual, multi-jurisdictional operation, which concluded on Wednesday, works to combat human trafficking through targeted enforcement utilizing undercover officers to arrest potential traffickers and offering support to survivors. As a result of the multi-day operation, 21 individuals were offered support services, five arrests were made, and a high capacity magazine, loaded firearm, and approximately 1.8 pounds of marijuana were seized. The arrests have been referred to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and San Diego City Attorney’s Office for potential criminal prosecution.

“No matter the time of year, everyone deserves a safe place to call home,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Operation Home for the Holidays is a key part of our joint efforts to keep our communities safe and fight back against human trafficking. I’m grateful to our partners on the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force for their ongoing collaboration and work to support victims, survivors, and their families. Together, we’ll continue to take action to hold those who break the law accountable.”

“Human traffickers won’t stop exploiting victims unless we stop them,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “That’s why these Human Trafficking Task Force operations are so important. Our goal is always to recover victims, identify traffickers, and hold them accountable under the law. Every human being deserves to have a safe home for the holidays and all year round.”

“We are proud to be a part of the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force,” said San Diego County Sheriff Anthony Ray. “Operations like this one send a clear message to criminals that law enforcement agencies in the San Diego region will not tolerate the exploitation and abuse of trafficking victims.”

“We must not permit this form of modern slavery to persist,” said San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott. “In San Diego, Your Safe Place – A Family Justice Center provides for the unique needs of survivors of sex trafficking by offering counseling, legal support, social services, and much more.”

“Human trafficking has a devastating impact on victims and communities and has no place in our district,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Randy Grossman. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to partner with our dedicated federal, state, and local law enforcement to ensure that traffickers are held accountable for their actions, and that victims obtain the justice they deserve.”

“Combatting human trafficking is a priority for FBI San Diego, not only during Operation Home for the Holidays, but at all times,” said Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “We will continue to work with our partners in the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force to help victims obtain available services and to make sure all perpetrators are held accountable.”

“Arresting human traffickers who take advantage of our most vulnerable and rescuing those exploited will always be a top priority for us,” said Chad Plantz, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations San Diego. “We are always most successful in combatting human trafficking when we partner with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to form a force multiplier.”

“The San Diego Imperial Valley HIDTA is committed to providing vital resources for our federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking throughout San Diego County,” said Director David King of the San Diego Imperial Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. “It is critical that law enforcement agencies work in a task force environment for ‘Operation Home for the Holidays’ to successfully investigate and prosecute those responsible for the sexual exploitation of vulnerable members of our communities.”

During Operation Home for the Holidays, law enforcement personnel worked undercover as sex buyers to identify and contact potential victims of trafficking and traffickers by responding to online advertisements for sex. The operation, which began last week, was carried out across San Diego County over a period of three separate days in the City of San Diego, National City, and Santee in collaboration with the National City Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, and other SDHTTF law enforcement partners. Altogether, undercover personnel offered support services to 21 individuals, and arrested five individuals for alleged pimping and pandering or other offenses during the course of the sting operation. As part of the effort, Child Welfare Services and adult and juvenile support service advocates were on scene to provide assistance as needed. All of the people who met with undercover authorities to offer commercial sex 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 men, women, 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 2020 — 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.

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