A truly heroic mission called “Operation United Front,” carried out by various law enforcement agencies across a dozen states, successfully rescued 47 victims of human and sex trafficking, including two minors.
In one of the biggest trafficking busts seen in months, an effort led by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office resulted in arrests of 102 individuals across 12 states, including Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin, according to a Friday release from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office.
Stings organized by state and local law enforcement through Operation United Front were coordinated across the 12 states to occur simultaneously on Thursday night and into Friday morning.
The operation used both “buyer-centric” and “victim-centric” tactics to catch suspects involved in trafficking the victims. Like many other human trafficking busts, police officers went undercover and pose as either a buyer or a victim to arrange meet-ups with the suspects who are then arrested on the scene.
Details regarding the identities of the victims or arrests were not made available, however, the attorney general’s office stated that 41 of the 47 victims were given medical care.
Schmitt praised the Missouri-led operation as a “massive success” which rescued nearly 50 people, including two minors.
“The Missouri Attorney General’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has been recognized as a national leader for our efforts to investigate and eradicate human trafficking in Missouri,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Through that task force, we were able to engage law enforcement agencies and attorneys general from across the country to organize and lead Operation United Front, which was a massive success, rescuing 47 victims including 2 minors, and making 102 arrests across 12 states.”
Schmitt pointed out that such extensive “multi-jurisdictional” coordination between so many states is “unprecedented,” and promised that his “Office will not stop in our quest to investigate and eradicate human trafficking in Missouri.”