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St. Pete PD: 13 arrested in undercover sting, 6 charged with human trafficking

Investigators from as far away as Orlando helped with the law enforcement operation.
Credit: KGW
Police car

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force revealed on Wednesday the results of an undercover operation carried out over a two-day period in February.

The St. Petersburg Police Department says 13 arrests were made during the multi-agency sting. Of those, six of the people arrested will face human trafficking charges.

As for the other seven people: five are facing prostitution charges, while two are accused of traveling to meet and sexually abuse a child.

"The operation, which targeted sellers and buyers of sexual acts and those who prey on underaged children, was launched in an attempt to identify and help victims of human trafficking in the Tampa Bay region," St. Pete PD wrote in an email.

Homeland Security investigators from Tampa, Orlando and Sarasota worked with St. Pete PD during the investigation. Other agencies that helped with the operation were the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tampa Police
Department, Temple Terrace Police Department, Largo Police Department, Zephyrhills Police Department, Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. 

The nonprofit anti-human trafficking group Selah Freedom helped provide support, as did the nonprofit and non-denominational Christian organization: Created Women of Tampa.

10 Tampa Bay Cares: If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, there is help available. The National Human Trafficking Hotline operates a 24-hour hotline and can be reached by phone at 1-888-373-7888, by texting HELP to BeFree (233733), or by chat to talk about your needs, your options, and the resources they have available to help you. 

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