Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Schubert announced the results of the 4th annual “Operation: Hot Spots,” a coordinated countywide sting operation aimed at reducing the demand side of human trafficking by targeting sex buyers. A press release was sent out earlier this week.
Community-based organizations from the Sacramento Together Against Human Trafficking coalition voiced the need to crack down on sex buyers who fund and sustain the sex trafficking trade. In response, DA Anne Marie Schubert led the effort to organize this countywide operation, with a commitment from law enforcement to conduct operations throughout the year to reduce sex trafficking.
The District Attorney’s Office created training videos for law enforcement agencies with experts on human trafficking victims (adults and juveniles), suspect tactics/manipulations, trafficking investigations, and evidence collection for prosecutions as well as community resources and services available to victims of human trafficking. Victim advocates are involved in the sting operations to assist with services.
From September to mid-November 2020, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Sacramento Police Department, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Folsom Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, the California Department of Justice and Parole conducted street and hotel sting operations. The FBI, Probation Department and District Attorney investigators also participated.
The results were a total of 46 arrests for soliciting for prostitution and human trafficking. A juvenile recovery was also made during the stings.
Those convicted of soliciting another for the purpose of buying sex or agreeing to engage in an act of buying a person to engage in an act of prostitution, face a maximum penalty of 180 days in county jail, will be subject to search and seizure, and may be ordered to stay away from the involved locations or known “stroll” areas.
DA Schubert states, “In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, human traffickers and sex buyers remain a significant public safety threat. We are committed to continuing sting operations through the Sacramento Together coalition to safely target sex traffickers and buyers as well as maximize our efforts to protect and serve victims of sexual exploitation.”