14 Arrested in Valley sex-trafficking operation

Posted: Updated:
By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais

PHOENIX -- Authorities have arrested 14 people in three days in a Valley sex-trafficking operation, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

Undercover detectives and decoys from the Greater Phoenix Area Human Trafficking Task Force have been targeting would-be pimps. This is the latest operation in a series of sex-trafficking investigations.

The suspects were arrested on felony charges of pandering, soliciting prostitution with a minor, receiving earnings of prostitution, and transportation for the purpose of prostitution.

Investigators targeted individuals who allegedly intended to recruit others for hire in the sex trade.

Police said the investigation was social media-driven, with some cases taking weeks to develop online.

The task force includes law enforcement personnel from the FBI and the Phoenix, Chandler, Glendale and Scottsdale police departments.

Police said Vice Mayor Jim Waring, chairman of the City of Phoenix Human Trafficking Task Force, sent the following message to task force members Friday morning:

"I want to thank the men and women of the Greater Phoenix Area Human Trafficking Task Force, coordinated by the FBI, for this latest strike against human trafficking in the greater Phoenix area.

"These arrests demonstrate that the task force is using all tools available in our ongoing regional effort to reduce demand, eliminate the profits, and rescue victims of this often violent and demoralizing criminal activity.

"This is just the latest chapter in our relentless area-wide effort against human trafficking and was the results of a combined investigation with our task force partners in the FBI, and in the Chandler, Glendale and Scottsdale police departments. We will continue our efforts to make Arizona the national leader in fighting human trafficking."