Los Angeles law enforcement announced Tuesday the rescue of more than 80 human trafficking and sexual exploitation victims, including children, during a weeklong operation that also netted hundreds of arrests.
The annual "Operation Reclaim and Rebuild" was held last week and coincided with the run-up to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said 74 adults and eight children were rescued, while 34 suspected traffickers were arrested. About 200 sex buyers, known as johns, were also taken into custody as part of the operation.
“Remember, this is one week only,” Villanueva said. “This is just one small slice of what happens throughout the entire year.”
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Yet myths surrounding an alleged link between human trafficking and major sporting events like the Super Bowl abound. Academic studies and news reports have repeatedly shown that trafficking does not increase as the Super Bowl and other championships approach.
Law enforcement crackdowns during these events often lead to the arrests of local street-based sex workers instead.