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August 12, 2021Mesa, AZ, United StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking, Child Exploitation

HSI Phoenix assists in multi-agency operation, 18 men arrested on prostitution and other charges

*Attempted Sex Conduct with a Minor; Child Prostitution with a Minor under 15; Money Laundering; Prostitution

MESA, Ariz. — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) joined the East Valley Human Trafficking Taskforce (EVHTTF) on a two-day “Buyer Reduction” or sting operation, which resulted in 18 arrests.

The operation was led by the Mesa Police Department. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Scottsdale and Tempe Police departments also participated in the investigation.

On Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, law enforcement staged in the area of South Country Club Drive and US 60 in Mesa, Arizona, to conduct online chats that offered prostitution services in an effort to identify and apprehend customers of sex trafficking victims. All 18 men arrested over the two days solicitated adult prostitution, and one was also charged of attempted sex conduct with a minor, child prostitution with a minor under the age of 15, money laundering and prostitution.

HSI and local law enforcement routinely partner to conduct operations of this type in a continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels trafficking and exploitation of children in our community. The following suspects solicited various sex acts and were arrested.

All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.