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118 arrested in undercover sex trafficking operation in Valley

Police said the Phoenix HEAT unit worked with human trafficking units from Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, HSI, and the FBI to address the problem in the Valley.

PHOENIX — Phoenix police announced Friday the arrest of 118 people in an undercover investigation aimed at preventing human trafficking-related crimes in the Valley.

Police said the Phoenix HEAT unit worked with human trafficking units from Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, HSI, and the FBI to address the problem in the greater Phoenix area.

Officials said the joint operation was conducted in Scottsdale and Phoenix and resulted in 118 arrests related to prostitution, luring, pandering, escort service violations, and warrants.

The investigations took place in two phases, the first over a three-day period in January. Phase two took place over a three-day period in February, police said.

Officials said three of the subjects arrested had outstanding felony warrants; one of which was for homicide out of Texas.

One person was arrested after they agreed to meet, believing they were paying to have a sexual encounter with an underage male.

In addition, several possible traffickers were identified, and follow-up investigations are pending.

Police said the combined efforts of the agencies are part of a nationwide effort to eliminate human and sex trafficking.  

If you have information about someone being trafficked, contact your local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or humantraffickinghotline.org.

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