“This is a proactive approach to identifying and arresting those who exploit children for their own gratification. It also can serve as a way to rescue human trafficking victims and introduce them to services that can help.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
BAKERSFIELD — On August 14, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arrests of 22 suspects as part of a multiagency, four-day sexual predator apprehension operation in Kern County.
“Operation Bad Barbie” targeted adults seeking to sexually exploit children by using undercover agents and detectives posing as minors offering sex for pay on online websites commonly used by victims of sex trafficking. These same websites are commonly accessed by predators to pay and meet victims for sex acts.
Included in those arrested was one registered sex offender with a prior conviction for sexual assault involving a 14-year-old. Additionally, agents and officers rescued three sex trafficking victims who were with the suspects arrested. The victims were provided support through services.
“Sexual exploitation and the human trafficking of children will not be tolerated in California, period,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I established DOJ’s Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team to ensure that my office could provide targeted and aggressive support to help end this modern-day form of slavery in our state. I am thankful to all our partners for their work in this operation, as well our California DOJ agents who have made hundreds of arrests and helped countless victims since starting this work in 2021. We will continue to keep at it, every day, as one person exploited is one too many.”