Crime /

Human Trafficking Sting Nets 21 Arrests in Arizona

Multi-Agency Sting Found Adults Soliciting Children Online

Arizona law enforcement officers have arrested 21 people in connection with a recent child sex trafficking operation.

The Surprise Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division partnered with other local police departments, federal agents, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to carry out “Operation Back to Skool,” an undercover sting targeting suspects of child sex crimes and human trafficking.

“Operations of this type are a part of the Surprise Police Department’s continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels child sex trafficking and exploitation of children in our community,” the Department said in a statement.

According to police, the suspects were arrested after soliciting and/or brokering deals for various sex acts. Detectives placed ads on websites commonly used by criminals seeking illegal sex acts.

“Many people don’t realize that human trafficking is happening in all of our communities,” Cami Parker, Founder of Global Education Philanthropists, told Timcast. “People believe human trafficking is something that happens in far away places or countries. That’s completely false.”

Global EP is a nonprofit organization that leads human trafficking rescue operations in Arizona, as well as other countries around the world.

“The digital age has opened up channels for traffickers and buyers — ‘Johns’ — to conduct ‘business’ transactions in new ways,” she said.

“Online/Live stream abuse is skyrocketing,” Parker added. “We have seen cases in homes where children are being trafficked via live stream camera, while their parents share the same bedroom wall, and have no idea.”

Since 2015, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted or is currently prosecuting 372 cases involving 477 defendants related to sex trafficking. Across the globe, more than a quarter of all human trafficking victims are children.

“There are predators in all of our neighborhoods,” Parker explained. “In this specific instance, contact was initiated online. Predators will use similar tactics to get to our children.”

Parker said that this latest mass-arrest in Arizona should wake up Americans in every city regarding the threat of child trafficking.

*For corrections please email [email protected]*