HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch says 20 human trafficking victims were rescued during three undercover operations across the state.
Fitch announced in a news release that operations took place in Hattiesburg, Jackson and Jackson County over the course of two weeks, leading to six arrests.
The Hattiesburg operation was conducted on May 26 by the AG’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Pine Belt Human Trafficking Task Force.
According to Fitch, one person was arrested for promoting prostitution. Five victims were encountered and offered victim assistance. Information was also gathered about several other individuals possibly involved in human trafficking in the Hattiesburg area.
The Jackson operation, carried out on May 17 and 18, resulted in two arrests for promoting prostitution and one for drug possession. Ten human trafficking victims were encountered and offered assistance, according to Fitch.
Information obtained during the investigation also led to the identification of a person who has a “major role” in human trafficking around Jackson.
The Jackson operation was carried out by the AG’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Jackson Police Department.
The operation in Jackson County took place on May 19 and led to two arrests for promoting prostitution. Five victims were encountered and officered assistance. One of the arrested men had been previously arrested on human trafficking charges, according to the AG’s office.
The operation was carried out by Fitch’s office, the FBI, HSI, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
“Human trafficking is a destructive crime that debases our common humanity and diminishes the value of human life. These victims are someone’s daughter, sister, or friend, and I am determined to put an end to this criminal enterprise and help them find their way forward without shame or blame,” Fitch said in the news release. “I would like to thank the law enforcement officers, investigators, and all of our federal, state, and local partners who assisted in these operations for their hard work and continued support in the fight to end human trafficking in Mississippi.”
No information regarding the identities of those arrested was released.
The investigations are ongoing.
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