Local Homeland Security operation frees 31 human trafficking victims and nets 82 arrests
HSI operation nets 82 arrests and rescues 31 human trafficking victims of sexual exploitation; victims rescued include 17 adults and 14 missing children, one of which is a 4-year old child.
In an announcement made by the Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Kansas City, James Wright, we understand that a recent HSI operation resulted in the arrest of 82 alleged human trafficking offenders and the rescue of 31 victims of sexual exploitation. Among them, 14 were missing children, the youngest child was only 4-year old, and 17 were adults.
Human trafficking is a crime of exploitation that deprives victims of their freedom; traffickers profit by compelling their victims to perform labor or engage in sex trades (either offline or online) in many regions of the United States and around the world. It violates federal, state, and local laws, and thus punishable under U.S. laws. Human trafficking is not only a very disturbing crime; it is also the fastest growing crime in the world, with profits running into billions of dollars annually.
For two weeks, agents in the Criminal Intelligence Unit and Special Operations Division of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) supported an important human trafficking and missing juvenile recovery operation headed by Homeland Security Investigations.
The operation took place from June 17 to June 26 in Wichita, Kansas, Independence, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri. The Homeland Security Investigations also involved the Heartland Anti-Trafficking Rescue Taskforce.
According to the announcement, the 82 subjects arrested will be arraigned for crimes related to soliciting prostitution, commercial sex trafficking, sodomy, narcotics violations, felony assault on a police officer, sex offender registry violations, and outstanding warrants. Although HSI maintained that the defendants in this case are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, it explained, however, that the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The operation was applauded by many organizations working in many different ways to address the sexual exploitation of children and adults in the United States and also cater to the needs of survivors. This is one of the most impressive responses of the government towards addressing the ever-growing crime of human trafficking in recent times in the United States.
In collaboration with HSI Kansas City, other security agencies involved in the enforcement operation include HSI Wichita, Wichita Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Kansas Highway Patrol, Health and Human Services, United States Marshal’s Service, Platte County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hutchinson Police Department assisted in the investigation.
HSI’s involvement in this case stems from its active participation in fighting crimes of exploitation, such as forced labor and sex trafficking of minors, teenagers, and adults. One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from victimization crimes, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set.
HSI is the primary investigative arm of DHS and plays a vital role in combating transnational crime and threats. HSI is a global leader in this kind of investigative discipline. As such, the agency is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint, and strong government and non-government affiliations to identify and rescue child victims, identify and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.
Notice any trafficking operation going on around your area? You can easily report a crime by calling the U.S Immigration and Customs enforcement at 866-347-2423 (TTY for hearing impaired: 802-872-6196) or visit the ICE Tip Line.
How we’re making a difference at the Mission Haven
Recovery isn't complete until a survivor regains full control of their life. This is our mission at Haven. We provide hope, healing, and a safe home to child survivors of sexual exploitation. Our focus is on providing a truly safe Haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking.
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