According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), 41 people were arrested in Tennessee over the past week in connection with human trafficking for sexual purposes.
The TBI announced that 41 people had been arrested and charged with either patronizing prostitution, or in one case, simple possession and solicitation of a minor.
A high school teacher, college football player and state IT specialist were among those arrested as part of a three-day sting to crack down on human trafficking in Nashville.
Press TV reports:
Over half of the men arrested said they wanted to have sex with underage females, the TBI said. Six women and one juvenile were also arrested.
“This week I learned that we are only scratching the surface,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a news conference. “This is our most significant operation to date.”
Undercover agents posted ads on Backpage.com during the sting operation. Some agents posed as underage girls. The TBI said more than 5,300 people responded to the ads through email or text messages.
“These men paying for sex with children in our state are only continuing to victimize girls and women. It’s wrong, it’s illegal, and we will pursue these operations in small towns and big cities for as long as it takes,” Gwyn said.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge of TBI Margie Quin said during the news conference that they were overwhelmed and disturbed by the amount of responses the false ads received.
During the first day of the operation, agents received about 216 responses in just seven hours, Quin said.
“We’re working toward helping victims of trafficking and taking these predators off the streets.”