More than 170 people are facing charges as part of a two-year investigation into a sex trafficking network in Florida.
As The Christian Post reports, the Tallahassee Police Department announced this week that Operation Stolen Innocence had led to an “unprecedented” number of arrests. The investigation started in 2018 after police investigators discovered images of a child on a website advertising sex for money.
“This investigation is a testament to how diligent our investigators work to enhance the quality of life for everyone in this community, especially our vulnerable population,” Police Chief Lawrence Revell said in a statement Tuesday.
“They worked tirelessly to bring justice to the victim in this case and were able to make an unprecedented number of human trafficking-related arrests. I could not be prouder of the steadfast efforts of our investigators and the joint effort with our partners to stop the illegal and dehumanizing practice of human trafficking.”
Charges range from solicitation of prostitution to human trafficking of a minor. Tallahassee Police say 106 suspects were charged with felonies and 72 face misdemeanors and notices to appear. Eighteen face federal charges.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, those arrested included a local candidate for office, a teacher and a former chairman of the fundraising office for Florida State University athletics.
The young girl in the photo police discovered is “on the road to recovery.” Police say she intends to testify in the case.
Police worked with the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida and the U.S. Marshals Service.
“It is difficult to comprehend the depravity of these criminals who prey on the most innocent in our society,” said Deputy Special Agent Kevin Sibley, who leads the DHS investigations team in the Tampa area. “Thanks to the collective efforts of the Tallahassee Police Department and HSI special agents, our local communities are significantly safer today as a result of this investigation.”
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.