MACON, Ga. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested 29 people in 13 cities and eight states Thursday on sex trafficking and related charges in a sweeping operation dubbed “Operation Safe Haven” targeting a network of illegal brothels trafficking Hispanic females. In addition to these arrests, HSI identified 15 potential human trafficking victims from brothels across the southeastern United States with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Joint Task Force – Investigations (JTF-I), ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Emergency Management Administration and multiple state/local law enforcement agencies.
Thursday’s arrests are the result of a 15-month investigation that began in July 2014 by HSI Savannah special agents in Moultrie, Georgia, who identified a loosely affiliated organization that coordinated the illegal movement of Hispanic females from Mexico and Central America across the southern border and then throughout the southeastern United States to brothels in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. The traffickers within this organization worked as independent operators to coordinate the movement and delivery of women for illegal sexual purposes.
We argue with ICE officers almost every day, we also agree with the officers on issues most every day. No right thinking person can disagree that human trafficking is wrong. There are a number of programs to help the victims of human trafficking. If you see it report it. Those being trafficked are victims.
Anyone who suspects instances of human trafficking is encouraged to call the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. Online tips can be submitted at www.ice.gov/tipline. Anonymous calls and tips are welcome.