SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – On October 22 and 23, 2020, St Petersburg Police investigators from the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT) along with Tampa Bay Human Task Force members representing the Tampa PD, Bradenton PD, Homeland Security, FDLE, FBI, and several social service agencies, worked a special operation. The purpose was to find and rescue potential human trafficking victims.
Detectives set up at a local motel targeting online ads for commercial sex with human trafficking indicators. When those responding to the ads showed-up at the motel to engage in prostitution, they were screened to see if they were potential human trafficking victims and would willingly go with social service counselors.
At the end of the two-day operation, there were three potential human trafficking victims (all adults) and 22 arrests. Those arrested were charged with various violations including prostitution, narcotic drug violations, and outstanding warrants.