Nearly 350 arrests made during human trafficking, sex crimes operation in Phoenix area

As people from all over the country traveled to Arizona for the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open, police say nearly 350 arrests were made in connection to an operation that targeted human trafficking and sex crimes.

According to Phoenix Police, officers from multiple law enforcement agencies conducted the operation between Jan. 30 and Feb 11, as large events were held across the Phoenix area – including Super Bowl LVII, the WM Phoenix Open, and the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction.

"These events draw large crowds of people, many of them from outside of the state, and large events can create a bigger market for human trafficking and prostitution related activities," police said in a news release. "Over 100 law enforcement officers from state, local and federal agencies worked daily to address the issue of human trafficking in the Valley."

Police say the operation targeted adults attempting to pay for sex with minors, online predators, street prostitution, and sex buyer apprehension.

"The priority of these operations was to identify and recover juveniles or adult victims of human trafficking as it relates to fraud, force or coercion as well as to provide victim outreach," police said.

During the operation, police made 48 felony arrests and 300 misdemeanor arrests – 120 of which were alleged sex buyers. 

Five juveniles and one adult victim were recovered, and seven guns were seized. 

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