Thirteen individuals were arrested in a massive anti-human trafficking operation in Contra Costa County undertaken in late January, the Chronicle reported.
The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force, which was founded in 2018, as well as several other East Bay law enforcement agency partners, carried out eight separate busts between January 23 and January 28. Authorities said they identified 30 survivors of human trafficking, all of whom were offered resources and services from specialized advocates.
“My office stands ready to evaluate these cases for prosecution and hold traffickers accountable for their exploitation of vulnerable members of our community,” District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement.
Between January 23rd & January 28th, the Contra Costa DA’s Office, in collaboration with the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force, made 13 arrests as part of a statewide effort to recover survivors of human trafficking and apprehend their exploiters. https://t.co/xPtyfeEi24
— Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office (@ContraCostaDA) February 4, 2023
The bust was reportedly aimed at cracking down on the illegal trade of human beings and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals throughout the county. The identities of those arrested were not yet publicly released.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies and nonprofits reportedly provided assistance, including the California Highway Patrol, International Rescue Community, California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, and more.
California has one of the largest concentrations of human trafficking survivors in the United States, according to the state attorney general’s office. Contra Costa County, which has a total population of about 1.2 million people, is no exception: A 2016 report on human trafficking there found that that year, there were about 110 human trafficking survivors (35 of whom were exploited children) in the East Bay county.
According to the report, 106 were survivors of sex trafficking, 11 were survivors of labor trafficking, and some were survivors of both — although it warned that the labor trafficking number is likely a severe underestimate, as labor trafficking is harder to identify than sex trafficking.
Image via Flickr/Alan Cleaver.