BAKERSFIELD — On January 29, 2024, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arrests of seven suspects as part of a multiagency, two-day sexual predator apprehension operation in Kern County. During the operation which targeted adults seeking to sexually exploit children, undercover agents and detectives posed 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. Additionally, agents and officers rescued three sex trafficking victims who were with the suspects at the time of the arrests. The victims were provided support through victims 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.”
The two-day operation involved the collaboration of the California Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team, Homeland Security Investigations, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the Bakersfield Police Department, investigators from the Kern County District’s Attorney Office, and the California Department of Corrections Parole Division.
The suspects were taken into custody and face charges by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office of pimping, pandering, human trafficking of a minor, contacting a minor for the purpose of committing a felony, and meeting with a minor for the purpose of committing a lewd act.