ALERT: 363 Arrested In Massive Bust!

Human trafficking is a persistent issue in the state of Florida. The act of forcing or coercing men, women, and/or children into labor that results in involuntary servitude, exploitation, debt bondage, or slavery is a felony that must be prevented.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Strategic Investigations Division (SID) participated in the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force Operation Breaking Chains during the month of June. The strategic plan aimed to reduce human trafficking across the state while also prosecuting those who are involved in it. A total of 16 sheriff’s agencies from 16 Florida counties took part in the month-long exercise. In total, the authorities found 29 victims of human trafficking, identified 31 traffickers, and made 363 arrests.

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force presented the results of Operation Breaking Chains today, a strategic program in 16 Florida counties aimed at reducing human trafficking across the state and prosecuting those guilty.

“Improving road and waterway safety is critical for all Floridians, including our children, as well as visitors to the Sunshine State,” said FSA President and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz. “Dedicated enforcement of state laws dealing with suspected human trafficking firms and online operations will serve to keep us all safe.”

The following are the totals for the entire state:

The month-long effort involved 16 Sheriff’s Offices in total.

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The bodies of 29 people have been found.

31 human traffickers have been detected.

4 drug traffickers have been apprehended.

Highway and waterway interdiction stops totaled 324.

Interdiction stops have resulted in the rescue of four victims.

Over 1,000 hours spent knocking on doors and talking to people at various businesses

There were 363 arrests in total.

There were 7,591 social media and sign messages sent out.

During the operation, 33 non-government community-based organizations assisted.

“I want to thank FSA President Sheriff Schultz for his leadership of the FSA and this operation, as well as the 16 counties who participated,” stated Chris Nocco, Pasco County Sheriff and chair of the FSA Task Force. “As always, the purpose is to safeguard victims.” I attribute this operation’s success to its one-of-a-kind approach. We didn’t just focus on making arrests; we also surrounding victims with tools that will help them in the future, allowing us to break the cycle of human trafficking while simultaneously holding those responsible accountable.”

Operation Breaking Chains helps to achieve two of the FSA’s business goals: fostering competent law enforcement and crime prevention, and promoting Sheriffs’ activities.

Human trafficking is inhumane, which is why BSO is delighted to have been a part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Task Force Operation Breaking Chains. Despite the operation’s conclusion, the Broward Sheriff’s Office will continue its past efforts to combat human trafficking in Broward.

BSO invites you to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733, or call the BSO non-emergency number at 954-764-4357 if you suspect human trafficking in your town (HELP).

Please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline page at humantraffickinghotline.org to learn more about human trafficking.