Dozens Of Children Rescued From Prostitution Rings Busted In The Bay Area
The San Mateo Police Department arrested 12 individuals – 11 adult prostitutes and one pimp, 25 year old Yu Yuan of San Jose – on July 25th and 26th as part of a massive national operation combating human trafficking.
SMPD joined Operation Cross Country, a nationwide enforcement campaign to stop human trafficking targeting the rescue of juveniles. The campaign is coordinated through the Innocence Lost Initiative, which partners with the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and local law enforcement agencies, like the SMPD, across the United States.
“San Mateo Police Department recognizes the critical importance of preserving our youth and families who are at-risk. We consider this among our highest priorities,” said Sgt. Dave Norris of the SMPD.
The SMPD committed over a dozen officers, detectives, and supervisors to this campaign. To enforce the San Mateo sting operation, Sgt. Norris explained, the SMPD partnered with on-scene victim advocates from Freedom House, a nonprofit that assists victims of human trafficking.
Through this operation, Freedom House reached out to prostitutes and provided alternatives, support and resources. The SMPD then secured an undercover location for the operation and arranged for meetings with possible prostitutes over two nights on July 25th and 26th.
This resulted in ten adult prostitution arrests and the arrest of Yuan and a suspected prostitute he was transporting to the undercover location. Yuan was booked in San Mateo County Jail on a felony pimping charge.
The SMPD is not releasing the location of the arrests and any names of the prostitutes or photos since this is an ongoing undercover investigation.
These San Mateo arrests were part of a larger sting operation that ran 17 local undercover campaigns in several Bay Area cities and counties, including San Francisco.
Through the Bay Area operation, 12 children were rescued and a total of 17 adults – including these 11 in San Mateo – were arrested. Nationwide, 105 children were rescued and 150 pimps arrested in similar operations throughout 76 participating cities in 47 FBI field offices.
This national operation had its origins in the Bay Area. California is home to three of the highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. In 2006, the Bay Area Innocence Lost Working Group sought to rescue children in a joint, multi-day operation. The operations of this past week was a result of this 7 year strategy executed successfully.
San Mateo Patch: San Mateo Police Net 11 Arrests in ‘Operation Cross Country’
San Jose Mercury News: Peninsula brothel caught in federal sweep, police say