(BCN) — The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force arrested 13 people over five days last month, during a statewide effort to recover survivors of human trafficking and apprehend their exploiters. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said, as part of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, county task force partners conducted eight separate anti-human trafficking operations in the county from Jan. 23 through Jan. 28.

They arrested 13 suspected traffickers and identified 30 survivors of human trafficking. All the victims had the chance to speak with a specialized victim advocate and were offered services. “My office stands ready to evaluate these cases for prosecution and hold traffickers accountable for their exploitation of vulnerable members of our community,” said District Attorney Diana Becton, in a statement.

The suspects were arrested on one or more of the following human trafficking related offenses: sex trafficking of an adult, a minor, pimping, and pandering. Task force director Katrina Natale emphasized that “without the careful planning and collaborative efforts of a wide array of law enforcement and victim services partners, the important outcomes achieved through these operations would not have been possible.”

Participating agencies included police departments from Brentwood, Concord, Hercules, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, San Ramon and Walnut Creek. Other agencies included the FBI, state agencies such as the departments of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Corrections and Rehabilitation, Industrial Relations, Employment Development and the California Highway Patrol and the nonprofit Community Violence Solutions.

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Contra Costa County’s Safe Streets Task Force, parole and probation departments, the sheriff’s office, and the county’s Homeland Security unit were also involved, among others. 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 aims to eradicate all forms of human trafficking in Contra Costa County through collaborative, multidisciplinary efforts to identify and support victims of human trafficking and to hold traffickers accountable through effective prosecution. 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 at (925) 957-8658.

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