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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City’s acting Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho announced the results of an HSI-led human trafficking operation May 3. The operation was initiated by the Kansas City Heartland Anti-Trafficking Rescue Taskforce and focused on identifying and rescuing victims who were being trafficked for sexual exploitation. HSI, with assistance from the Independence Police Department, arrested 22 individuals and rescued two trafficking victims.

“When individuals think of human trafficking, it often conjures up images of popular Hollywood movies that usually take place overseas, but in actuality this crime is happening right here in the Heartland,” said Cho. “That’s why educating the community on what human trafficking looks like, the efforts HSI and our law enforcement partners are making to eradicate the crime, and how to report it is so vitally important.”

On April 25 and 26, HSI and the Independence Police Department used undercover officers to contact suspected sex trafficking victims. During this operation, suspects chatted on several social media platforms with undercover agents and investigators who posed as sex buyers. Authorities arrested the suspects as they arrived at a prearranged meeting place.

HSI Kansas City is a leader in the global fight against human trafficking. HSI special agents utilize their broad range of authority and international footprint to identify, investigate and disrupt domestic and transnational criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking. Special agents work closely with the HSI Victim Assistance Program to ensure that human trafficking victims are afforded their rights and have access to the services to which they are entitled by law. HSI provides expertise and leadership to other federal, state, local and international law enforcement partners by organizing training on strategies and best practices that can be utilized to counter this heinous crime of exploitation.

Members of the community can report crimes, suspicious activity and suspected human trafficking to the HSI Tipline at 866-347-2423.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat human trafficking in our community on Twitter @HSIKansasCity.

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