85 people arrested in Hillsborough County human trafficking sting

Author: CBS
Published: Updated:

More than 80 people were arrested in the last six months as part of a human trafficking investigation in Hillsborough County.

Sheriff Chad Chronister shared more details about “Operation Trade Secrets” during a Monday news conference. Chronister said the investigation began in January and 85 people were arrested.

Chronister said the operation involved investigating hotels, motels, spas, massage parlors, strip clubs and adult book stores. Charges include human trafficking, possession of a controlled substance, practicing massage without a license, child pornography and voyeurism.

MORE: Sex trafficker targets the girl next door into a dark illicit world

The sheriff said at least one person arrested was a confirmed human trafficker.

Chronister said he has a message for those involved in human trafficking: “Stop because we’re coming for you.”

The sheriff said their investigations continue, and hopes in the next six months he can provide another update on progress to combat human trafficking in Hillsborough County.

MORE: Inside look at how a hotel giant is preventing sex trafficking

“Human trafficking can happen in any community and to victims of any age, race or nationality, as our detectives have seen throughout the course of this investigation,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a release. “We realize that many victims are afraid to come forward, so we’re actively working to find them and committing resources to targeting those who engage in human trafficking.”

Going forward, Chronister said the sheriff’s office will work with local nonprofit Created Woman to provide resources for victims of human trafficking.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.