Nine men, including at least five who met with undercover agents posing as juveniles, were arrested on trafficking, sex, and prostitution charges in Oak Ridge on Thursday during a two-day undercover operation targeted at human trafficking in East Tennessee.
As part of the operation, law enforcement officers said they placed several decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases.
“The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a press release.
The covert operation included the Oak Ridge Police Department, special agents from the TBI Human Trafficking Unit, the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force (CTF), the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Seventh Judicial District Attorney General’s Office.
In a press release, Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark said the operation was conceived by ORPD in response to recent cases where men from other areas have solicited sex from juveniles and traveled to Oak Ridge to meet the girls. The ORPD led the covert operation on Wednesday and Thursday with technical and manpower help from the TBI, CTF, the Sheriff’s Office, and the DA’s Office, Clark said.
“Arrests were made when men came to an Oak Ridge location to pay to have sex with minors,” the DA said.
The operation also focused on identifying potential victims of trafficking. Two adult women were identified and offered services such as housing and counseling through Grow Free Tennessee, a program of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the TBI said.
The covert human trafficking operation was conducted in Oak Ridge. Officers were focused on investigating people who buy sex as well as people engaged in sex trafficking, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.
Here are the allegations against the defendants charged in cases involving undercover agents posing as juveniles, according to the arrest warrants. The offenses occurred within 1,000 feet of a daycare facility.
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