October 13, 2023
Late last month, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) conducted a sex trafficking operation in Little Rock. The multidisciplinary anti-human trafficking event consisted of law enforcement and victim service providers from around the state working together to combat human trafficking, recover victims and make our communities safer.
“It is important that we take a multidisciplinary and victim-centered approach to combat human trafficking together,” said ASP Director Colonel Mike Hagar.
The operation was made possible through the coordinated efforts of representatives from federal, state, local and non-government organizations that included the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, Little Rock Police Department, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Finance and Administration, Harrison Police Department, Cabot Police Department, the Arkansas Fusion Center, along with victim advocates from the Regional Intervention of Sexual Exploitation “RISE,” The Genesis Project, the Hub of Hope, Into the Light, Paws for Justice, Children’s Protection Center and the NWA Forensic Nurse Team.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order in February making combating human trafficking one of the hallmarks of her administration and challenged each state agency to do their part.
“As a result, the ASP Criminal Investigation Division committed to making bold strides to make Governor Sanders’ vision a reality,” said Major Stacie Rhoads, CID commander. “If not us, who?”
During the one-day operation, ten adult females and two minor females were contacted and offered victim services, including food, lodging, onsite medical services, counseling/therapy and drug rehabilitation. Five of the adult females accepted assistance and the minors were taken into protective custody and released to the Department of Human Services. Additionally, ten adult males were contacted and detained as part of the investigation.
While further details cannot be released at this time due to the ongoing investigation, the issue of human trafficking continues to be a problem in Arkansas and across the United States and law enforcement will continue to take it seriously.
“These efforts will go a long way toward making Arkansas an intolerable environment for human trafficking,” said Col. Hagar. “The Arkansas law enforcement community is committed to entering the dark world of human trafficking with compassion so that we can pull victims into the light.
If you have information or suspect human trafficking is occurring in your area, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-8888