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FBI Arrests 169 in Child Trafficking Sting Leading Up to Super Bowl

Traffickers and pedophiles arrested during multi-agency operation

 on 7th February 2019 @ 12.00am
kirstjen nielsen  secretary of homeland security  speaks during the overview of public safety press conference for super bowl 53 © press
Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, speaks during the overview of public safety press conference for Super Bowl 53

The FBI has announced that 169 have been arrested during a major child sex trafficking sting that targetted human traffickers operating in the run-up to Super Bowl LIII.

The bureau released a press statement on Tuesday announcing that an 11-day sting, beginning January 23, resulted in mass arrests, that included 26 alleged traffickers and 34 people accused of trying to engage in sex acts with minors.

The multi-agency task force also successfully rescued nine alleged juvenile sex-trafficking victims and nine more alleged adult victims.

The victims were all provided assistance and treatment, the FBI said.

“The operation’s goal was to raise awareness about sex trafficking by proactively addressing that threat during the Super Bowl and events leading up to the Super Bowl,” the press release read.

“Sex trafficking is not just a problem during large-scale events, it is a 365-day-a-year problem in communities all across the country.”

major events like the super bowl bring in a lot of people  money and crime     increasing the odds of people willing to pay for sex © press
Major events like the Super Bowl bring in a lot of people, money and crime – increasing the odds of people willing to pay for sex

According to Fox News, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children/Human Trafficking Program and Metro Atlanta Child (MATCH) Task Force worked alongside 25 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to carry out the arrests.

FBI Special Agent Taylor Dervish told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that major events like the Super Bowl bring in a lot of people, money and crime – increasing the odds of people willing to pay for sex.

“Sex trafficking is a problem that occurs every day of the year in every city and in every town in the country,” Dervish said.

Throw in a major event like the Super Bowl — which brings more people, money, and crime — and the likelihood rises for those willing to buy sex, Dervish said.

According to the Springfield News-Sun, sex trafficking can be a large, commercial operation, but investigators with MATCH are also focused on other sex crimes, such as prostitution. 

“We’re looking at a sex act in which anything of value is exchanged,” Dervish said.

The names of those charged and the specific charges were not released.

In addition to sex trafficking, prostitution, pimping, drugs, and weapons charges were also filed. All of those arrested are facing state charges, the FBI said, though the investigations are continuing.

the fbi led the multi agency task force that arrested 169 in the human trafficking sting © press
The FBI led the multi-agency task force that arrested 169 in the human trafficking sting

More than 25 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and district attorney’s offices, along with seven non-government organizations, participated in the operation, according to Kevin Rowson, an FBI spokesman.

The GBI, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security and police departments in Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Clayton counties were among the agencies involved.

“From January 23, 2019, to February 2, 2019, the operation’s goal was to raise awareness about sex trafficking by proactively addressing that threat during the Super Bowl and events leading up to the Super Bowl,” Rowson said in a press release. 

Arrests were also made in outer metro counties, including Coweta and Forsyth, Dervish said. 

The FBI numbers were released a day after the GBI announced 21 people were arrested during a five-day operation that began Jan. 30.

“Operation Interception,” based in Brookhaven, resulted in arrests for computer pornography, child exploitation, and trafficking, the GBI said.

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