Juvenile survivor of human trafficking rescued, two suspects arrested

Multi-agency Operation Cross Country conducts three efforts, investigating four other cases

Under leadership of organization with office in Antioch

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

Law enforcement partners with the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force arrested two suspected human traffickers and recovered one juvenile victim in a nationwide effort to apprehend human traffickers and provide services to victims.

As part of Operation Cross Country, task force partners and local FBI personnel jointly conducted three separate anti-human trafficking operations throughout Contra Costa County from July 19th through 30th, 2023. These joint efforts led to the arrest of a 33-year-old male resident of Sacramento and a 24-year-old male resident of Oakland, and the identification of nine survivors of human trafficking – including one juvenile. Additionally, the FBI and task force partners are still investigating four other cases in Contra Costa County. All victims identified through these operations met with specialized human trafficking victim advocates immediately upon contact and were offered a range of services and support.

“These outcomes demonstrate the positive results that can be achieved from collaboration between law enforcement and community partners to address the harm caused by human trafficking and deliver justice to victims,” noted District Attorney Diana Becton.

The suspects were arrested or cited on one or more of the following human trafficking or human trafficking-related offenses: sex trafficking of a minor, supervising, aiding, or recruiting a prostitute, and violating a protective order [PC236.1(c), PC653.23, and PC166(a4]. The ongoing investigations in these cases center on these charges as well as pimping, pandering, and adult trafficking [PC266h, PC266i, and PC236.1(b)].

Task Force Co-chair and Executive Director of Community Violence Solutions, Cynthia Peterson, highlighted that “the partnership among Contra Costa’s task force members in combatting human trafficking ensures a coordinated, trauma-informed response focused on our shared goals of empowering and providing comprehensive services and support to victims.”

Participating agencies included, in alphabetical order:

• Community Violence Solutions

• Concord Police Department

• Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office (CCCDA)

• Contra Costa County Probation Department

• Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department

• Federal Bureau of Investigations

• Hercules Police Department

• Homeland Security Investigations

• International Rescue Committee

• Northern California Regional Intelligence Center

• Pittsburg Police Department

• Pleasant Hill Police Department

• Richmond Police Department

The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force is co-led by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Community Violence Solutions, a community-based 24-hour service provider for survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.

Founded in 2018, the Task Force envisions a community free of human trafficking where survivors thrive. It aims to achieve this by encouraging self-sufficiency and empowerment through the provision of survivor-centered, culturally responsive advocacy and services; striving for exploiter accountability through prosecution, education, civil remedies, and restorative practices; educating task force members and the community; and harnessing data to guide these efforts.

Anyone with information on suspected human trafficking (sex or labor) or related crimes is encouraged to make a report to your local law enforcement agency or the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Tip Line (925) 957-8658.

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