Four alleged sex buyers arrested in task force investigation
The Santa Barbara County Human Trafficking Task Force recently conducted a human trafficking sting operation focusing on rescuing victims of human trafficking, identifying and arresting their traffickers, disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims, and connecting victims of human trafficking with victim resources.
During the operation, three women engaged in the sales of sex acts were contacted and four alleged sex buyers were arrested. The names of the arrestees were not available for release due to ongoing investigations.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force was established in 2016 with a $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant was renewed in 2020 with an additional $1.2 million in funding for three years.
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip line at 805-681-4171 or provide an anonymous tip at https://www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip/.
Sheriff’s detectives coordinate closely with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Victim-Witness Program to ensure the needs of survivors are not overshadowed by the focus on the investigation and prosecution of the accused. Victim advocates are available to ensure that survivors are kept informed and supported throughout the criminal justice process. Survivors have the option of contacting the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at 805-568-2400 or toll free at 855-840-3232.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind survivors that they can also find support services through our community partner, Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). Services offered by STESA include a confidential 24-hour hotline, legal and medical advocacy and accompaniment, and counseling. You can reach a STESA advocate at any time by calling 805-564-3696.