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Over 200 arrested, record number victims rescued in Fla. human trafficking operation

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Operation Traffic Stop had “the highest number of victims we’ve ever rescued”

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Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd talks about a week-long human trafficking bust that led to more than 200 arrests and the rescue of 24 potential victims.

(Fox 13 Tampa Bay/YouTube)

By Garfield Hylton
Orlando Sentinel

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Central Florida deputies arrested 213 people in a human trafficking investigation named “Operation Traffic Stop.”

Polk County’s Vice Unit started the operation on Feb. 6 and ended on Monday, according to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The Vice Unit partnered with law enforcement agents from Okeechobee, Auburndale, Winter Haven, Davenport and other departments.

Social services organizations like One More Child, Heartland for Children and the Florida Department of Children and Families were also on-hand to help the victims.

“Not only did we arrest more suspects during this single operation than we have ever arrested before, we identified 24 human trafficking victims - the highest number of victims we’ve ever rescued during one of these investigations,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “The valuable relationships that we have with the social services organizations who join us in these operations make it possible for these women to get help and be emancipated from this way of life.”

Deputies shared numerous facts regarding the arrest, including 14 suspects being in the country illegally, 35 suspects being married, several having violent criminal histories, and two of the suspects bringing firearms to the undercover location.

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