Dozens Arrested in Massive Sex Trafficking Busts in Florida - NBC 6 South Florida

Dozens Arrested in Massive Sex Trafficking Busts in Florida

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    Understanding Human Trafficking

    Human trafficking is a prevalent crime that knows no borders, and victims rarely come forward to seek help. NBC 6 anchor Johnny Archer reports.

    (Published Friday, Feb. 22, 2019)

    A massive sex trafficking bust spanning multiple Florida cities resulted in nearly 50 arrests and 175 warrants being issued, authorities said.

    Officials with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office said 171 arrest warrants were issued this week, and at least 45 suspects were arrested as part of the six-month investigation into massage parlors where victims were recruited to perform sex acts in exchange for money.

    The sheriff's office worked with the Vero Beach and Sebastian police departments, along with the Department of Homeland Security, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.

    The suspects face more than 200 counts of solicitation, while the main targets of the investigation are also facing various charges including racketeering, deriving support from prostitution, engaging in prostitution, and transportation for prostitution, officials said.

    Also this week, a separate investigation in Palm Beach and Martin counties led to the arrests of two women accused of running sex trafficking operations out of spas, WPTV reported.

    The investigation also led to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft as one of the 25 suspects facing charges of soliciting prostitution, officials announced Friday. The charges stem from two different visits Kraft allegedly made to Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.

    Five spas in Stuart, Jupiter and Hobe Sound were targeted in the eight-month investigation, with dozens of more arrests expected, officials said.

    "They were cooking on the back steps of the business. These women were sleeping in massage parlors, on the massage tables and had no access to transportation," said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, who noted the victims were averaging eight clients a day. “If you do the math, that is about 1,500 men a year, with no days off."

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