47 People Rescued in 12-State Human Trafficking Sting


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The Missouri Attorney General’s office announced on Friday that it and law enforcement agencies in 11 other states arrested 102 people in connection with human trafficking crimes and rescued 47 victims and sex workers.

The office said that the multi-state human trafficking bust, called Operation United Front, took place Thursday night into Friday morning.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office said that each state “conducted its own operation simultaneously” while sharing information with Missouri law enforcement officials.

“Prior to the operation, Missouri offered training and information about how to best conduct these operations to participating states,” the office said in a statement.

The other states that participated in the operation were Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

“Operation United Front was an unprecedented human trafficking operation that brought together law enforcement agencies from different jurisdictions—something that rarely happens,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said Friday.

“When we all come together, we can affect change and more effectively fight human trafficking, a crime that is often multi-jurisdictional in nature. My Office will not stop in our quest to investigate and eradicate human trafficking in Missouri,” he added.

The attorney general’s office said law enforcement officials were able to make the arrests and rescues by “using both buyer-centric and victim-centric ‘sting’ human trafficking operations.”

“These operations typically use undercover officers who arrange ‘dates’ or meetups with potential human trafficking victims and rescue that victim or sex worker and provide needed services, or pose as a victim themselves and arrest buyers or traffickers,” the office said.

Of those who were rescued on Thursday and Friday, 41 received “needed medical services.”

The operation in Missouri took place at a commercial business in Kansas City, where two people were arrested, four people were rescued and “11 victims were provided needed services.”

Kentucky saw the largest number of arrests with 46 people taken into custody and 21 victims rescued, the attorney general’s office said. In Iowa, police arrested 11 people and seized a “large amount of currency. In Texas, law enforcement officials arrested four people, and seven were arrested in Nebraska.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

In Michigan on Wednesday, law enforcement officials also announced they had made arrests in human trafficking operations.

A group of sheriff’s departments in the state said they had arrested six people in connection with human trafficking, 13 ON YOUR SIDE reported.