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Fresno, Calif/Canadian-Media: 10 women and girls were rescued from the sex trade and 21 arrests were made by a multi-day operation on June 23 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Fresno Police Department Vice Unit, and Fresno County District Attorney’s Investigators to combat child exploitation and human trafficking in the Fresno area.
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Arrests were made for multiple child exploitation related charges including: contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense, aiding prostitution, arranging a meeting with a minor and solicitation of acts of prostitution.
“HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to safeguard our local communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, who oversees HSI operations in Northern California. “By working together, we will continue to identify these dangerous offenders and bring them to justice. Our combined efforts are vital to protecting young people from these heinous individuals.”
Focusing on arresting human traffickers and the child predators, undercover agents and detectives employed a variety of methods commonly used by human traffickers in support of the victims, agents and detectives coordinated with a local rescue group working with local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies to provide hope, healing, and restoration to the survivors of human trafficking.
Two of the men arrested for arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes were found to be in possession of illegal firearms. In addition to state charges, the Eastern District of California United States Attorney’s Office may seek to file federal charges for qualifying cases.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
A founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, HSI is an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
As a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, HSI is responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, targeting criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move.
With a workforce of over 10,400 employees., HSI consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries.
DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence is represented by HSI’s international presence abroad and is one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.