Three minors were rescued, and 11 were arrested after an operation conducted between April 19 and April 23 to fight human trafficking in the greater Los Angeles area, according to the Los Angeles Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force in the San Gabriel Valley.
On April 19, members of the task force observed two young girls interacting with vehicles driven by lone males. Members of the task force made contact with the girls, one of whom was identified as a 14-year-old girl and is six months pregnant. The second girl was 16 years old and the third was 17, all of them were reported missing from cities outside of Pomona. They were later sent to the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, reported Breaking 911.
In total, 11 individuals including 7 females and 4 males were arrested for commercial sex trafficking-related crimes after police conducted enforcement operations along Holt Avenue—a known haunt.
“Operation Lost Angels” started on Jan. 11 during Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Thirty three children were rescued, including eight who were being sexually exploited at the time of recovery, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
According to authorities, during the January operation, several victims had been sexually exploited in the past and were “considered vulnerable missing children.” Police recovered two of the victims multiple times.
The FBI said that victims are known to return on their own or because of force or threats.
“This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation,” the FBI said. “Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they’re being trafficked.”
The Pomona Police Department’s Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking Team has rescued eleven juvenile victims of sex trafficking since Jan. 1, 2021. Sex trafficking has been proactively addressed by the Pomona Police Department and the FBI, which also enlists the help of other agencies to provide a victim-centered approach.
“Human trafficking is a pervasive and insidious crime that threatens the safety of our young people, who are the future of our communities, we can only begin to take back the future of our youth with the strong partnerships forged between outstanding service providers and law enforcement,” the Los Angeles Police Department’s chief, Michel Moore, said in January.
Task Force Investigators suspected there could be other missing victims connected to the Holt Avenue operation and urge anyone with information to contact the Pomona Police Department at (909) 622-1241 or the FBI. The FBI can be called 24 hours a day at 310 477-6565 in Los Angeles.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline receive information about human trafficking victims at 1-888-373-7888, texting 233733, or via https://humantraffickinghotline.org/.