San Bernardino County Authorities Conduct Operation to Combat Human Trafficking
Above: Stock Image
Between January 22 and 25, 2024, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department engaged in Operation Reclaim & Rebuild. This initiative, part of a statewide effort, aimed to rescue victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, while also focusing on arresting those responsible and disrupting the demand for these crimes. This operation took place across San Bernardino County and involved multiple agencies.
The operation was led by human trafficking investigators from the Gangs/Narcotics Division. Collaborating agencies included the San Bernardino Police Department, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and local victim advocacy partners. Operation Reclaim & Rebuild was strategically planned to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, emphasizing California’s stance against human trafficking, particularly in San Bernardino County.
Throughout the operation, 25 individuals were arrested in San Bernardino County on charges related to solicitation of prostitution and pandering. Additionally, seven victims were rescued and provided with various services and resources. The focus of this operation was to target online and street prostitution, and those demanding these illegal services, which contribute to an underground economy in California.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department stated that their objective was not only to arrest suspects but also to identify and assist as many victims as possible. They aimed to provide these individuals with necessary resources to recover from their experiences. Emphasizing the serious nature of these crimes, the department highlighted that prostitution often involves individuals forced into sexual acts against their will.
The department pointed out that victims of commercial sexual exploitation often have histories of abuse or trauma. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that one in six endangered runaways is likely a victim of sex trafficking. These individuals face not only emotional and physical abuse from traffickers but also from those who solicit them.
In its ongoing efforts, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is committed to disrupting and dismantling sex trafficking operations within the county. Their approach includes proactive enforcement to reduce the demand for sex trafficking by arresting buyers and rescuing victims.
The department encourages anyone with information related to human trafficking to contact the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force at (909) 387-8400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous reports can be made to We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME or on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
This operation represents the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s commitment to addressing and combating the issue of human trafficking in the region, with a focus on both apprehension of perpetrators and support for victims.