A human trafficking operation in Florida carried out over the past three months has led to the arrest of 123 people. Among those arrested include a spiritual leader, a nurse, and a teacher, according to WTVT.
The name of the three-month operation was known as Operation Renewed Hope, carried out by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Human Trafficking Squad. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said detectives carried out several undercover streetwalker and hotel/motel operations.
The operation also included online chats. During the virtual chats, detectives posed as minors available for sex. Chronister also mentioned that detectives posed as the guardians of minors who were available for sex to lure predators.
Chronister said he decided to conduct the operation during the holidays when children would be out of school and more present online, according to the report.
“I wanted to ensure that our children would be protected and those wanting to pay for sex and wanting to fuel the sex trade were not getting a free pass because of the holidays,” Chronister said.
After the authorities arrested 123 people who were charged with human trafficking-related crimes, Chronister said that a basketball coach, a spiritual teacher, and a nurse were involved.
“These are individuals who betrayed our trust,” he said.
“These suspects know what they are doing is wrong. Even a few of them that were arrested, and we’re seeing a trend – they drop their cell phones, they take their cell phones somewhere else before they show up to have sex with this young child because they don’t want their wife to be able to track where they are at,” Sheriff Chronister said. “They know what they are doing is wrong.”
Fox News Digital reported that since the Human Trafficking Squad was launched, it has successfully arrested 604 individuals and charged 36 with trafficking-related crimes.
“What I find even more impressive is the fact this squad has rescued 28 victims from the grips of human trafficking,” Chronister said. “That is 28 people whose lives were saved thanks to the hard work and dedication of the men and women on this team.”
Chronister went on to say that those involved know they are in the wrong. Oftentimes, the men leave their cellphones behind before showing up to have sex with a minor so that their wife does not know where they are, per the report.