Dozens of people were arrested, multiple human trafficking victims identified and helped, and seven missing children recovered, during a month-long operation surrounding the World Games in Birmingham.
Homeland Security Investigations carried out the extensive operation as part of the World Games Human Exploitation Task Force, authorities said Monday.
Dubbed “Operation Games STOP,” the effort targeted human exploitation-related crimes, drug trafficking and other public safety threats leading up to the World Games, which began July 7 and ended on Sunday.
The operation, which started on June 23, is the largest, most concentrated effort in Alabama to attack human exploitation.
The initiative included training more than 80 hotels in the Birmingham area on the signs of human trafficking, as well as 3,500 volunteers and even athletes.
“Major sporting events like this routinely at- tract transnational criminal organizations and other bad actors involved in illicit criminal activity such as human exploitation crimes, drug trafficking and the sale of counterfeit merchandise,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama.
The operation resulted in:
• 34 arrests of commercial sex buyers
• Six arrests on human trafficking related charges
• Eight arrests of adult males for online enticement of a minor and traveling to meet a minor for sex
• 15 adult sex trafficking victims identified and provided services
• Four minor victims of labor trafficking identified and provided services
• Two minor sex trafficking victims identified and provided services
• 11 minor victims of online sexual exploitation and sextortion identified
• Seven adult labor trafficking victims identified and provided services
• Seven missing and endangered minors were located, recovered, and provided services
• Nine felony drug arrests
• One arrest of a fugitive from Michigan on charges of felony impersonation of a police officer
• Over a dozen outstanding state and local arrest warrants served on people encountered, including one for at- tempted murder
• Seizure of nine fire-arms
• More than 20 search warrants executed
• Seizure of more than $30K in counterfeit goods
Multiple agencies took part in Operation Games STOP: the Alabama Fusion Center, the Birmingham Police Department, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the Fultondale Police Department, the Bessemer Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the McLennan County Tex- as Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville, Ala. Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Hoover Police Department, the Oxford Police Department, the East Metro Area Crime Center (EMACC), the Homewood Police Department, the Vestavia Hills Police Department, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the Gwinnett County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the Northport Police Department, the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force and the FBI.