HSI San Diego, multiple agencies announce results of local human trafficking task force of Operation Home for the Holidays
SAN DIEGO — As part of a joint investigation with the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, law enforcement agencies — including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) —announced the results of Operation Home for the Holidays.
The annual multijurisdictional operation, which concluded on Nov. 30, works to combat human trafficking through targeted enforcement using undercover officers to arrest potential traffickers and offering support to survivors. As a result of the multiday operation, 12 people were offered support services and two arrests were made. The arrests have been referred to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego City Attorney’s Office.
During Operation Home for the Holidays, law enforcement personnel worked undercover as sex buyers to identify and contact potential trafficking victims. The operation, which began last week, was carried out across San Diego County over a period of two days in San Diego and National City in collaboration with the National City Police Department, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the San Diego Police Department, and other San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force law enforcement partners. As part of the effort, Child Welfare Services and adult and juvenile support service advocates were on-scene to provide support.
“Regardless of the season, every person deserves a safe place to call home,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Operation Home for the Holidays plays a significant role in our collective endeavors to ensure community safety and combat human trafficking. I deeply appreciate the continuous collaboration and efforts of our partners at the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, who work tirelessly to assist victims, survivors and their loved ones. Together, we will persevere in taking decisive measures to hold those who violate the law responsible for their actions.”
“The scars human trafficking leave on victims and their families can last a lifetime,” said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “We are committed to combating this threat through continued partnerships and collaboration with our state, local and federal law enforcement partners.”
“Operation Home for the Holidays and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force serve a vital role for public safety because they protect the most vulnerable members of our society who are repeatedly victimized by those who profit from their servitude,” said David King, executive director of San Diego Imperial Valley’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. “Connecting victims of human trafficking with life changing services, and providing consequences for violators, will have positive impact on the quality of life for many San Diego County residents.”
“The Sheriff's Department is proud of the hard work and collaboration of all our local, state and federal partners,” said San Diego County Sheriff Kelly Martinez. “The importance of these operations cannot be minimized, even rescuing one young woman from human trafficking cannot be understated. We would like to also thank our community partners who have been instrumental in providing resources for the women involved in these investigations. We are honored to be a part of these programs and will continue these partnerships in our effort to end human trafficking in San Diego County.”
“The holidays should be a joyful time for all children in our community. We are committed to rescuing victims of human trafficking and reuniting them with their families this holiday season while holding offenders accountable,” said San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit. “This annual operation is a great example of how law enforcement partnerships are crucial to rescuing the most vulnerable in our community.”
“Every child and every human being deserves to be home safe for the holidays and we will continue to fight alongside the human trafficking task force to recover victims and hold criminal buyers and traffickers accountable,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Girls as young as 13 years old are being openly sold for sex on our streets and it’s unacceptable. We want victims of sex trafficking to know they can break free from this horrific cycle and regain their freedom and dignity.”
The San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force is a cooperative effort involving the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Highway Patrol, the FBI, HSI, the National City Police Department, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County Probation Department, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the San Diego Police Department, the Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. In addition to serving as the lead agency on the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, the California Department of Justice has two regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams serving Northern California and Southern California.
If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 to access help and services. Additional information and resources to support survivors of human trafficking is available here.
Further, to report information about human trafficking, child sexual abuse or the trafficking in child sexual abuse material immediately to your local sheriff’s office or federal law enforcement, call 866-347-2423. Those who wish to remain anonymous can report information to First Coast Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477), file a report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children through its tip line at 800-843-5678, or report it online at Report.Cybertip.org.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.
HSI is 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. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.