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213 suspects have been arrested after an undercover human trafficking operation

Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-19 18:14:37-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office has arrested 213 suspects in an undercover human trafficking operation.

Investigators with multiple agencies said the suspects allegedly solicited prostitutes and aided and abetted prostitution.

Out of the 111 sex workers arrested 24 have been identified as possible human trafficking victims and 14 have been identified as migrants. They were interviewed by both officers and numerous social services organizations to determine if they were being trafficked or exploited for money.

PCSO said when interviewed and asked how the child got into the situation they said they were paying off their transportation debt and that they were being smuggled into the U.S. to have sex.

The children were provided with resources from social services which includes advocacy, mental health counseling, and access to necessary resources.

Those arrested include a school board member from California and a University of South Florida football player.