On Friday, August 27, Missouri authorities announced an official crackdown on a multi-state human trafficking network, arresting more than a hundred individuals.
Terminating the operation, officials detained 102 individuals and rescued up to 47 victims, including sex workers and two minors.
According to state Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a statement, the majority of the arrests took place Thursday night into Friday morning, following a months-long investigation.
Kentucky purportedly came out with the most offenders and victims, in which more than half of the arrests (46) were from there, and 21 victims were rescued. The two minors rescued were also from this area.
“Operation United Front” was joined by officials from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.
The officers revealed they would pose as victims and join arranged dates with buyers or traffickers to identify them.
They would also try to form communication with victims or those targeted by the offenders and rescue them.
Each state conducted separate activities and shared information with the rest of the team.
“Operation United Front was an unprecedented human trafficking operation that brought together law enforcement agencies from different jurisdictions—something that rarely happens,” Schmitt proudly said.
“When we all come together, we can affect change and more effectively fight human trafficking, a crime that is often multi-jurisdictional in nature,” he continued.
According to Schmitt, this probe was only one of several long-running processes that this type of social crime requires, and that operations like “United Front” will continue in the future. He remarked that this achievement is due not only to multi-state agency collaboration but also to collaboration between enterprises.