Human trafficking: Multi-agency operation results in over 100 arrests, Scottsdale PD say

Officials with the Scottsdale Police Department announced on Feb. 14 that an operation targeting human trafficking resulted in 158 arrests.

In a statement, Scottsdale investigators said the operation, which lasted from Jan. 23 to Feb. 10, involved not just Scottsdale Police, but six other Phoenix area police departments, along with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. The operation was described as "a proactive operation to arrest sex buyers, child predators and individuals involved with the sex trade and trafficking."

"The operations were decoy-based, with no children directly involved," read a portion of the statement. "Charges ranged from child sex trafficking, prostitution, pandering, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, attempted sexual conduct with a minor, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of dangerous drugs and felony flight."

Of the 158 arrests, Scottsdale Police officials said 37 of them involved alleged felonies.

"We had some cases involving pandering, and then we did have adult sex buyers that we were involved with as well," said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Andrew Parrott.

Sgt. Parrott said operations like this one took months of planning, leading to sex buyers, child predators and those involved in trafficking. Sgt. Parrott said the high demand of the illegal activity should be a warning to everyone.

"When you have more people, you have more trafficking," said Sgt. Parrott. "These big sporting events like the Super Bowl and [WM Phoenix Open], those events themselves don’t draw human trafficking. More people that are demanding this type of thing, that’s what draws more trafficking."

Officials also say human trafficking does not discriminate over age or race, and the best way for parents to keep their kids safe is through open communication, when it comes to the internet.

"The biggest thing is communication with your kids," said Sgt. Parrott. "Who are they talking to online? Who are they playing their games with? What apps are they using?"