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85 Arrested in Florida Human Trafficking Sting

Florida just can’t stay out of the news when it comes to trafficking humans who are usually being forced into prostitution.  In recent blog updates, just in the last month alone, I’ve covered the following stories, all stemming from the Sunshine State.

Those stories were all in the last thirty days!  Florida clearly has a big problem, and today I’m here reporting more that I read on ABC Action News.  Ugh!

Operation Trade Secrets Nets 85 Arrests

A human trafficking sting led to 85 arrests, thanks to the undercover operation titled “Operation Trade Secrets.”

In this operation, the Sheriff’s Office went undercover to hone in on activities taking place in motels, online, and at spa’s and massage parlors, as well as strip clubs.  The investigation ran from January 1, 2019, until June 7, 2019.

Edie Rhea, the founder of a nonprofit called “The Healing Root Ministry,” was sold 25 years ago for sex.  She feels the problem is more in the limelight than in prior times.  However, she feels the progress is happening because of the increased activity and she feels people are seeing it and reporting it.

To report human trafficking, view this page for options.

The Sheriff went on record saying that as long as human trafficking is happening in Tampa, the operation will continue and they will seek out and punish people who are victimizing innocent people and ruining their freedom.

“Our message for anyone involved with the despicable practice of human trafficking— stop— because we’re coming for you,” Sheriff Chronister said.

The only suspect in the entire investigation is named Marcell Walsh, as far as charges for human trafficking go.  He’s facing the charge of forcing a 24 year old female into prostitution.  Brian Hartzler was also arrested.  He is a Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter and he solicited for sex in his uniform.  Not a great idea.


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