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Five people arrested in human trafficking sting

Five people were arrested during a countywide law enforcement operation aimed at capturing human traffickers, officials announced Thursday.

Operation Home for the Holidays was conducted over three days this week in San Diego, National City and Santee by the multi-agency San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force.

In an effort to identify traffickers and trafficking victims, undercover officers posed as commercial sex customers responding to online advertisements for sex.

The five arrests were for alleged pimping and pandering, as well as other offenses, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office. Those who met with undercover officers to offer commercial sex were offered access to resources and supportive services.

The operation follows a similar San Diego County sex trafficking sting conducted last month that resulted in 30 arrests and was carried out in Encinitas, National City, San Diego, Santee and other local areas over a four-day period.

More than 1,300 human trafficking cases were reported in 2020 in California, more than any other state, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Human trafficking is prevalent in the hospitality, commercial sex, domestic work and construction industries, and victims of human trafficking are also found among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers, providers of residential care and in California’s garment sector, the Attorney General’s Office said.

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