February 26, 2024
Jonesboro, Ark. – Five women believed to be victims of human trafficking were offered services and another 30 local victims were identified as part of Operation HART (Human Anti-Trafficking Recovery Team), which took place in Jonesboro earlier this month. One suspected trafficker was identified.
Arkansas State Police (ASP) and members of the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council conducted the recovery operation during a single day, offering victims services, including food, lodging, onsite medical services, counseling/therapy and drug rehabilitation.
“The Arkansas law enforcement community and our victim service partners are on a mission to end human trafficking in Arkansas,” said ASP Director Colonel Mike Hagar. “We are working to give law enforcement the specialized training they need to embrace victims with compassion while they free them from perpetrators of this heinous crime.”
The multidisciplinary operation consisted of law enforcement and victim service providers from around the state, working together to combat human trafficking, recover victims and detain traffickers to make our communities safer. Prior to and during the operation, intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers identified local victims.
The operation was made possible through the coordinated efforts of representatives from federal, state, local and non-government organizations, including the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, Jonesboro Police Department, Arkansas State University Police Department, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation Task Force Members, Harrison Police Department, Arkansas Fusion Center, along with victim advocates from the Regional Intervention of Sexual Exploitation “RISE,” The Genesis Project, Hope Found of Northeast Arkansas, Paws for Justice, ACASA, and the NWA Forensic Nurse Team.
During a similar Little Rock operation in September, ten adult females and two minor females were identified and offered services in Central Arkansas. In that operation, five adult female victims accepted assistance and all minors were taken into protective custody. Ten men were detained as part of that investigation.
Further details cannot be released at this time, as the investigation is ongoing.
Human Trafficking continues to be a problem in Arkansas and across the United States, and law enforcement will continue to take it seriously. If you have information or suspect human trafficking in your area, please contact the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council at reportht@asp.arkansas.gov (mailto:reportht@asp.arkansas.gov) or the National Human T
rafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888