368 arrested in Southern California task force human trafficking operation

LOS ANGELES — A multi-agency task force in Southern California targeting human trafficking resulted in 368 arrests and the rescue of 131 victims, authorities said Wednesday.

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Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was conducted over seven days in nine counties, according to The Orange County Register. Counties that participated included Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino, Chief Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department told reporters at a news conference.

According to a news release, the Los Angeles Police Department said that 82 law enforcement agencies were involved in the operation.

According to the release, 116 people were arrested by the LAPD. Stanislaus County officials made 57 arrests, according to data provided by police.

The trafficking victims included six minors and 125 adults, KTTV reported. Sixty victims -- 30 in Contra Costa County and 30 in Ventura County -- were among those rescued, police said.

“The victims’ ages in this operation were found to be between 13 and 52 years of age, with six of them being juveniles,” Moore told reporters. “The average age of most victims was in their mid-20s, and our investigators worked diligently alongside our victim advocacy groups in providing these victims with services and resources to help them escape from this life-threatening environment.”

Moore stressed that while the latest operation covered a week’s worth of arrests, police departments statewide were working to fight sex trafficking, the Register reported.

“We know that the sex trade is a prolific one that exists throughout this state and throughout our nation,” Moore told reporters. “It’s an ugly scar against this great country that exists too oftentimes in plain sight.”

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