ICE HSI, joint law enforcement operation leads to multiple human trafficking arrests and seizures

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A two-day undercover local, state and federal law enforcement operation resulted in the arrest of nine individuals, the seizure of six weapons and nine vehicles, as well as thousands of dollars in cash and illicit drugs.

This investigation was conducted by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, Memphis Police Department, FBI, and office of the 30th Judicial District Attorney General.

The undercover investigation, aimed at addressing human trafficking in the Memphis area, began on January 21. Undercover officers placed decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex. The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors. As a result, the following nine men were arrested and booked into the Shelby County Jail.

Part of the operation also focused on identifying potential victims of human trafficking. As a result, several women were referred for services.

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HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of DHS, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

If someone believes trafficking may be occurring, they should not approach the potential suspect or victim(s). For the safety of the public and the victim(s), suspicious activity should first be reported to local law enforcement. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online at ice.gov/tipline, or by phone at 866-347-2423.

Learn more about HSI Nashville’s efforts to fight human trafficking in your community at @HSI_Nashville.