Human trafficking poses a significant threat to our Tampa Bay community. That is why we are pleased to acknowledge the commendable achievements of Operation Renewed Hope.
On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister revealed the success of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) sting operation, Operation Renewed Hope. Over the past 90 days, the office put 123 individuals under arrest on charges related to human trafficking and online predators targeting minors in this undercover operation. Additionally, during 22 days of undercover operations, six individuals were arrested on human trafficking charges.
HCSO employed a multi-pronged approach, conducting undercover streetwalker and hotel / motel operations, along with online chats where undercover investigators posed as minors. The individuals were under the impression that they were communicating with minors available for sex as well as guardians selling children to predators.
Disturbingly enough, many predators involved with this spring held various positions of authority within our community. Notably, among those arrested were an elementary science teacher, a grief counselor, a nurse, and a basketball coach. These individuals who have been trusted in our community knowingly sought to engage in sexual acts with minors.
Since the launch of the Human Trafficking Squad by Sheriff Chronister in June 2021, a total of 604 people have been arrested, with 36 facing charges related to human trafficking. The squad’s efforts have led to the rescue of 28 victims from human trafficking, providing them with the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Sheriff Chronister and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Squad for their unwavering commitment to protecting our community and its most vulnerable members. As a community, we will continue to remain vigilant and fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking. If you observe any suspicious activities in Hillsborough County, then please report them to either 911 or 813-247-8200.
About Bridging Freedom
Are you looking to support a local non-profit in the Tampa Bay metro area that focuses on eliminating human trafficking. Bridging Freedom aims to fight minor sex trafficking through our restoration programs and education resources. In short, we depend on the generosity and collaboration of our local community of donors and supporters. If you would like to support our organization, then please consider donating online at the webpage here.