As part of statewide effort, Stanislaus law enforcement makes 58 human-trafficking arrests

Fifty-eight arrests connected to human trafficking were made over three nonconsecutive days late last month, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Multiple law enforcement and social services agencies and advocacy groups worked on “Reclaim and Rebuild,” a statewide operation, to arrest the 58 men and women on an array of felony and misdemeanor charges in the Stanislaus area, a press release said.

Arrests were made on Jan. 24, 27 and 28, sheriff’s Sgt. Erich Layton said.

The release, posted on Facebook, says suspects were charged with prostitution, pimping, violation of sex offender registration, attempting to contact a minor with the intent to commit a felony, and human trafficking.

“There were people arrested on prostitution charges who were provided resource referrals in case they’re interested in getting out of particular that line of work,” sheriff’s Sgt. Luke Schwartz said. Eight women who were among those arrested “took advantage of the resource referral information provided to everyone,” Schwartz told The Bee.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office thanked the Turlock Police Department and city, Ceres Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, California Parole, California Department of Justice, Homeland Security Investigations, Stanislaus County Child Protective Services, and HAVEN (Healthy Alternatives to Violent Environments).

“CPS is normally involved because it’s common that young girls are being prostituted, but in this case, no juveniles were arrested or rescued,” Layton said.

Operation Reclaim and Rebuild was conducted Jan. 22-28 in observance of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, according to the release.

“The operation focuses on rescuing victims of human trafficking, identifying and arresting their captors, and disrupting the demand for these vulnerable victims,” according to the post.

Some identifiers of people being trafficked are: having few or no personal possessions, owing a large debt and being unable to pay it, inability to clarify where they are staying, losing time, and more, according to California State Attorney General, Rob Bonta’s website.

It depends on who you are when looking for signs of human trafficking, Layton said. For example, it’s not uncommon to see girls at a hotel room that their pimp is prostituting them out from. A hotel worker is more likely to notice that as a sign.

Parents and family members should look for sudden changes in attitude and behavior. It could be a sign your loved one is being trafficked if they’re coming home with a new phone or their hair, nails, and make up done without explanation.

“With human trafficking, sometimes there’s a circuit that girls do. A pimp will take them up and down the state, sometimes out of state for multiple days,” Layton said.

He described situations where a family member or juvenile will be reported missing and come back within a few days. “You might start to notice a cycle of them being gone for days, them not checking in, or they turn off their location services, may even turn off their phone as a whole.”

You can also be on the lookout for tattoo of names or aliases that might be related to the victim’s pimp. Layton said this is common among a pimp’s “main girl” or girlfriend.

Anyone with information about crimes related to human trafficking can call Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636 or go

And anyone who is a victim, or knows of one, and needs immediate help, the Sheriff’s Office advises calling 911 or the nonemergency dispatch line at 209-552-2468.