ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Three potential victims of human trafficking were rescued, and 22 people were arrested after a human trafficking bust in the Tampa Bay area.
St Petersburg Police investigators teamed up with Tampa Bay Human Task Force members representing the Tampa Police Department, Bradenton Police Department, Homeland Security, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the FBI and several social service agencies. Together, the agencies carried out a special operation on Oct. 22 and 23.
"The purpose was to find and rescue potential human trafficking victims," St. Pete police explained.
Detectives say they set up at a local motel and responded to online ads for sex that sounded like they might involve human trafficking. When the people responding to those ads showed up at the motel, authorities say they screened the individuals to determine if they were potentially trafficking victims who would leave willingly with social service counselors.
Ultimately, police say three potential victims, who were all adults, were saved during the two-day operation. The 22 people arrested were charged with a variety of crimes, including prostitution and drug charges. Some had warrants, according to police.
What other people are reading right now:
- CDC: Listeria outbreak reported in 3 states, kills 1 in Florida
- Joe Biden set to make campaign stop Thursday in Tampa
- Here's the full 2020 World Series schedule
- Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham dies in small plane crash
- Tropical Storm Zeta forecast to become a hurricane in the Gulf
- What you need to know about the 6 constitutional amendments on Florida ballots
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter