Arizona: Operation Broken Hearts was a joint effort with Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, the AZ Attorney General and Homeland Security to target sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking. A recent undercover operation netted 37 arrests (Breitbart).
Phoenix Police reported on a Facebook Post:
“The Phoenix Police Department recently partnered with the City of Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Attorney General’s Office for Operation Broken Hearts. Operation Broken Hearts was an undercover operation targeting sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking. Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children. These suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested.
The combined efforts of the agencies involved, are part of a nationwide effort to eliminate human and sex trafficking. If you have information about someone being trafficked, contact your local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or humantraffickinghotline.org“
Facebook Phoenix PD
Phoenix, Arizona, as well as numerous other cities, remained a “hotspot” for child sex trafficking, even during the pandemic.
“What we are seeing is that there is a ton of activity, there are a ton of people being bought and sold for sex in our community,” said Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Director of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research at Arizona State University.
Roe-Sepowitz said the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the industry in Phoenix, but it has changed trafficker’s tactics.
“The desperation level is going up. The traffickers are being more violent; we have heard that they are more likely to be carrying a weapon now,” said Roe-Sepowitz.
Advocates said when the pandemic initially hit, sex trafficking moved online. But now, victims are being forced back to the streets.
Prior to the Super Bowl this year, 147 trafficking arrests were made by law enforcement, and 75 during the Super Bowl. The 37 people arrested in Phoenix under “Operation Broken Hearts” were a drop in the bucket as law enforcement works to rid te nation of human trafficking.
Authorities, and private organizations have been steadily rescuing victims of human trafficking, from young children to adults. It is unclear what the fate of these operations will be under the Biden administration, since both the US Marshal’s Office and Homeland Security often participate in the actions. But the nationwide effort to stamp out human trafficking has been an ongoing goal.
Featured photo: Phoenix Police Department mugshots from Operation Broken Hearts
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