On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, members of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) working in cooperation with the Hemet Police Department conducted an enforcement operation targeting street prostitution occurring along Florida Avenue in the city of Hemet. The purpose of the operation was to disrupt sex trafficking, with a particular emphasis on the trafficking of juveniles for prostitution.
During the course of the six-hour operation, a total of five potentially underage subjects seen loitering for prostitution were located and contacted by officers. Each subject was interviewed to determine their age, identity, and also establish if they were a potential victim of sexual exploitation. Additionally, each subject contacted as part of this operation was offered access to victim services such as temporary housing, counseling, and other services in an effort to offer them alternatives to prostitution.
All of the detained subjects were determined to be adults. Four of the five subjects were ultimately issued citations for loitering and prostitution charges. The fifth subject was determined to be a victim from out of state unwillingly procured into prostitution. The various investigations are ongoing and the identity of the subjects will not be disclosed at this time.
The RCAHT task force coordinated this effort with the full participation and cooperation of the Hemet Police Department. The Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was formed in 2010 to address all forms of human trafficking occurring within Riverside County. Human trafficking crimes include labor trafficking, sex trafficking of children, or the sex trafficking of adults if perpetuated by force, fraud, and/or coercion.
The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force currently comprised of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations. RCAHT is partnered with Operation SafeHouse to provide victim-centered services to trafficking victims.
Anyone who feels they may have additional information is encouraged to contact Sergeant John Sawyer at (951) 955-1700.
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