cuffs, handcuffs
Photo credit: Alexander Nguyen

Authorities arrested five people during a countywide law enforcement operation targeting human traffickers, they said Thursday.

The multi-agency San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force conducted Operation Home for the Holidays over three days this week in San Diego, National City and Santee.

In an effort to identify traffickers and trafficking victims, undercover officers posed as customers responding to online advertisements for sex.

The five arrests were for alleged pimping and pandering, as well as other offenses, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office.

The Attorney General’s office said in a statement that 21 people who met with undercover officers were offered access to resources and supportive services.

The operation follows a similar San Diego County sting conducted last month over four days that resulted in 30 arrests in Encinitas, National City, Santee and parts of San Diego.

More than 1,300 human trafficking cases were reported in 2020 in California, more than any other state, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

According to the California Attorney General’s Office statement human trafficking is prevalent in the hospitality, commercial sex, domestic work and construction industries. Victims are also found among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, providers of residential care and in California’s garment sector.

City News Service