During the week of January 24-30, 2021, Detectives from the Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force (VCHTTF) participated in the statewide operation known as Operation Reclaim and Rebuild. Throughout the week, investigators went to locations known for sex trafficking activity and set up sting operations. Investigators also targeted businesses in which there have been reports of illegal sexual activity.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild traditionally occurs during the last week of January, when local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies join for enforcement efforts. The departments who assisted this year in the operation were Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Investigations Bureau, Ventura County Code Enforcement, Simi Valley Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and California State University Channel Islands Police.
The goal of the operation was to rescue victims of sexual exploitation, arrest the human traffickers or pimps, and provide social services to potential human trafficking victims. Detectives believe that these proactive enforcement efforts are vital to harnessing the growing human trafficking problems. Throughout the week, numerous victims were contacted and connected with local victim resources.
Five arrests were made for various criminal violations including human trafficking, pimping or pandering, solicitation of prostitution, possession of illegal controlled substances, and possession of firearms.
Detectives along with Ventura City Code Enforcement Officers also conducted massage parlor compliance checks, which resulted in several municipal violations. These locations have also been flagged for possible human trafficking activity. Detectives will follow up on these locations and ensure illegal activities are not taking place under the guise of legitimate business.
Detectives encourage victims to contact “211” or local law enforcement if you believe you are victim or know a victim of human trafficking to be connected with services.