|Image source: Phoenix Police Department|
(The Blaze) - More than three dozen people have been arrested in connection to a large-scale human trafficking operation in Arizona. "Operation Broken Hearts" was a multi-agency mission to catch sexual predators in the Phoenix-area.
The undercover sting operation arrested 37 people, all of which were between the ages of 21 to 66. Law enforcement said the suspects solicited sex acts with undercover officers and were subsequently arrested.
Operation Broken Hearts was conducted by the Phoenix Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Chandler Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
"Operation Broken Hearts was an undercover operation targeting sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking," the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. "Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children."
"These suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested," the PPD said on Friday. "The combined efforts of the agencies involved, are part of a nationwide effort to eliminate human and sex trafficking."
In late January, during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Operation Reclaim & Rebuild nabbed 64 people for alleged sex crimes in Riverside, California.
"Operation Lost Angels," a multi-agency human trafficking investigation led by the FBI in January, resulted in the rescue of 33 missing children in California.
In November, the U.S. Marshals Service tracked down 27 missing children in Virginia during "Operation Find Our Children."
In October, Marshals announced the recovery of 45 endangered children and 178 arrests in Ohio and West Virginia during "Operation Autumn Hope."
On Oct. 1, the Marshals Service recovered 11 children in New Orleans, two of whom were said to be in "extreme danger."
On Sept. 21, "Operation Safety Net" resulted in 35 missing children being recovered in Ohio by the U.S. Marshals.
On Sept. 4, Marshals proclaimed that they had located eight "highly endangered" missing children during "Operation Homecoming" in Indiana.
On Aug. 27, "Operation Not Forgotten" led to the discovery of 39 missing children in Florida and Georgia. Law enforcement stated that the children were between the ages of 3 and 17. Of the 39 endangered children, 15 were victims of sex trafficking.
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