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Sheriff: More than 100 people arrested in human trafficking investigation

Sheriff Chad Chronister said 104 people were arrested after the months-long investigation called "Operation Trade Secrets II."

TAMPA, Fla. — More than 100 people were arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office after a five-month-long human trafficking investigation.

Sheriff Chad Chronister detailed the investigation during a Monday morning news conference. He said 104 people were arrested. Chronister said "Operation Trade Secrets II" was a continuation of the investigation the sheriff's office did earlier this year.

The sheriff said 76 men arrested were buying sex and 28 women were engaged in sex trade. Chronister said the investigation focused on websites, massage parlors, strip clubs and motels. The sheriff's office had women detectives undercover posing as sex workers and male detectives posing as "Johns."

"This is not a simple problem, this is a complex problem," Chronister said, noting that Tampa has a negative image as the "strip club capital of the world." But, he said, the human trafficking industry "boils down to supply and demand."

"As we get closer to major events coming to Tampa next year, like the Super Bowl, WrestleMania and even the Final Four, I want to make it clear that human trafficking will not be tolerated in Hillsborough County,” Sheriff Chronister said. “This undercover operation is evidence of our commitment to putting an end to this despicable act.”

Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

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