Over 150 arrests made during sting operation targeting human trafficking

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – A 12-day sting operation conducted by the Scottsdale Police, focusing on human trafficking, has resulted in over 150 arrests. The agency announced on Wednesday that multiple police departments across Arizona joined forces in this operation that led to 158 arrests. The charges ranged from child sex trafficking, prostitution, pandering, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, attempted sexual conduct with a minor to drug possession.

Sgt. Andrew Parrott, Supervisor of the Scottsdale Police Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit (HEAT), expressed that the operation was a success. “It seems like we’re all one big agency when we come together and do these types of things and I think that’s one of the main reasons we’re so successful,” he said.

The operation, which spanned from Jan. 23 to Feb. 10, was decoy-based and did not involve real children. Parrott hinted that the detectives impersonated children in online chat rooms as part of their tactic.

With many predators lurking online, Parrott urged parents to be vigilant about their children’s online activities, particularly on mobile phones and gaming platforms. Though the names of the arrested individuals were not disclosed, it was revealed that the arrests comprised 37 felonies and 121 misdemeanors.

The police departments in Valley are known for routinely conducting such operations to impede human trafficking. In 2022 alone, several local agencies reported over 100 arrests through an undercover sting.

Those with information about potential trafficking victims can reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.