Over 200 People Arrested In Florida Human Trafficking Bust

[Screenshot/YouTube/Fox 13 Tampa Bay]

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Police in Florida have arrested more than 200 people in connection with a human trafficking enterprise after a week-long operation by multiple agencies.

Following a week-long operation that ran from Feb. 6-12, the Polk County Sheriff’s Department in partnership with other agencies, arrested 213 individuals on suspicions of human trafficking, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference Thursday.

“In addition to the human trafficking arrests — the prostitution arrests — we had drugs, we had guns, we had prostitution, we had Johns,” the sheriff stated, adding that police rescued 24 women who had been trafficked.

Of the 24 women, fourteen were noted to be in the United States illegally. Most of them were Cubans smuggled into the country through the southern border, the sheriff revealed, adding his frustration about the politics surrounding the situation at the border.

“Yes, there’s a crisis at the border. Wake up. Somebody in Washington with more than five brain cells needs to listen to this.” the sheriff stated, before conceding that the number might be too much to ask, pressing instead for three.

“These ladies all arrived within the last two years. The majority of them arrived within the last six months. Some of them arrived within the last two weeks.”  All of them were told, the sheriff continued, that they were being forced into sex work to pay off the debt incurred for smuggling them into the country. In order to ensure their compliance, traffickers threatened the women’s families, the sheriff stated. (RELATED: 46 Arrested In North Texas Sex Trafficking Bust)

Among those arrested was an elected school board official from San Diego, who reportedly solicited sex while visiting his parents in Florida, Judd stated. A wide-receiver for the University of South Florida was also arrested, as was a software engineer, Judd revealed.