12-state trafficking operation arrests 102, rescues 47 victims

Published 4:10 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Authorities made 102 arrests and rescued 47 victims as part of a 12-state effort to combat human trafficking, Missouri’s top law enforcement official said Friday.

Most of the arrests occurred Thursday night into Friday morning and came after a months-long investigation, state Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.

“Operation United Front” was conducted in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota, where authorities conducted their operation during this month’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Undercover law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies arranged meetings with potential victims or posed as victims to identify buyers or traffickers, Schmitt said.

Two of the 47 victims were minors and they were rescued in Kentucky, which had the most arrests — 46 — and where 21 victims were rescued.

The Missouri investigation was conducted at a Kansas City business and led to two arrests and the rescue of four victims.