The human trafficking task force of Santa Barbara County recently participated in the eighth annual Operation Reclaim and Rebuild along with more than 80 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and task forces from across the state.
Sting operations took place in Santa Barbara County from Feb. 9-12 and resulted in the arrest of 14 sex buyers, according to a news release. Two potential victims of human trafficking were identified and connected with local resources through the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office’s Victim-Witness Program.
The operation is focused on rescuing victims of human trafficking, along with identifying and arresting their traffickers, disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims and connecting victims of human trafficking with victim resources.
The local human trafficking task force consists of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Barbara Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Maria Police Department.
Recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department hosted a press conference wherein totals for the state of California for Operation Reclaim and Rebuild were announced. This year’s statewide coordinated effort resulted in the rescue of 73 juvenile and adult victims, and the arrest of 477 individuals for crimes associated with human trafficking.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking division was established in 2016 through a grant from the United States Department of Justice. The grant was renewed in 2020 with $1.2 million in funding for three years.
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, you’re asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip line at 805-681-4171. You also can provide an anonymous tip at sbsheriff.org.