Santa Barbara County’s Human Trafficking Task Force was reportedly part of more than 90 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that recently participated in a statewide effort to combat human trafficking.
Operation Reclaim and Rebuild took place over three days in late January.
Authorities say 36 suspected traffickers were arrested, along with 156 men who were arrested on suspicion of solicitation. Thirty-four adults and 14 minor victims were also reportedly recovered. A total of 339 arrests were reportedly made in connection with the operation.
In Santa Barbara County, the Lompoc Police Department, Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara Police Department, and Santa Maria Police Department participated in the operation.
County officials say 22 arrests were made locally and four additional cases were referred to the District Attorney’s Office for potential charges. Seven potential victims of exploitation were reportedly contacted and offered help by the DA’s Victim Witness Program.
The operation in Santa Barbara County reportedly involved stings in the cities of Goleta and Santa Maria in which an undercover investigator posed as a prostitute. Also in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, undercover investigators posed as “Johns” in an effort to bust traffickers.
Santa Barbara County Human Trafficking Task Force