Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

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Source: Santa Maria Police Department

On Friday, 6/18/2021, the Santa Maria Police Department Detective Bureau-Special Victims Unit conducted a Human Trafficking Operation in the city of Santa Maria. The goal was to identify and locate "sex buyers," locate and assist victims of human trafficking in addition to identifying those who are also forcing victims into the trade. 

During the operation, (6) male subjects were arrested for solicitation of prostitution. All were cited and released from the scene for a court appearance at a later date.

Human Trafficking is a heinous crime and a morally reprehensible act that deprives a person of their liberty and dignity for another person’s gain. The Santa Maria Police Department strives to establish a relationship of trust with all victims and is committed to eradicating all forms of human trafficking in our community.

The SVU Detectives were assisted by the Santa Maria Police Department Special Enforcement Team and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

To report tips about Human Trafficking, contact:
The Santa Maria Police Department
SMPD Tip Line:  (805) 928-3781 EXT. 2677
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 htts://

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Coolio Jun 22, 2021 08:33 AM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

The Criminal Justice system is a big business they need clients (criminals) to stay well funded and grow the business. The more non-violent offenders they can prosecute and incarcerate the better for business .

Luvaduck Jun 22, 2021 08:12 AM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

Making something illegal that has always had an on-going demand promotes crime. Sex is basic, it keeps a species going. If sale of sex is legalized, the worst stuff goes away. Providers have on-going health exams and "houses" have security staff; workers keep more of what they earn and can even have retirement accounts. Buyers are protected form violence, not forced to use booze, drugs, force or deception. In Amsterdam, a particular area has windows to display providers discretely. People still marry, have kids; sex-crime units can concentrate on criminals for whom actual sex isn't the issue.

Watcher237 Jun 21, 2021 06:08 PM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

Is Human Trafficking just becoming another buzzword? Who was doing the trafficking? And what happened to THEM? And what happened to the people who were BEING trafficked? And WERE they being trafficked? Or just out to make to quick bucks???

This is not a human trafficking bust at all.... Just a bunch of horny old Joe's...

SBTownie Jun 21, 2021 06:48 PM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

Yeah, so I actually got extremely interested in this topic in the last year because I was so confused about who was being "trafficked." It seemed like everywhere I turned, I was reading stories about people being "trafficked." It's the new term for prostitution. Sure, some of the victims are "trafficked" but it's just the new catch-all super-scary term that has taken over. It's quite far from the "trafficking" we've seen in movies, etc. and often far less dramatic than we assume given the term.

a-1624299465 Jun 21, 2021 11:17 AM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

So 6 Johns were busted for seeking to pay for consensual sex and zero actual human traffickers were found. I understand there is something to be said for lowering the demand, but not much. Tax dollars are better spent elsewhere.

navigator Jun 22, 2021 01:49 PM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

It was a sting operation. What the local police have done in the past is just post an ad online offering sex for money and when someone calls them they negotiate a price and a place. These were just guys looking for sex and there were no real prostitutes ....just nobody was being held against their will, beaten up, or threatened and these "heinous criminals" were just issued misdemeanor citations and released "at the scene."

a-1624387573 Jun 22, 2021 11:46 AM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

DOULIE: exactly. That's the point. Arresting Johns doesn't stop trafficking. Prostitution is the oldest trade in history. Like the drug war, this will never end. Humans love sex and many are willing to pay for it. So, if you want to combat sex trafficking, quit wasting time on men who are intending to pay for consensual sex. Focus these "stings" on the pimps or websites that are providing the services.

a-1624380746 Jun 22, 2021 09:52 AM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

@11:19...uh, how do you think this kind of operation works? The "prostitutes" are undercover police officers, not potentially trafficked individuals. Zero chance of catching human traffickers with this kind of operation, yet they still write the article as if it is related or at all possible. This operation does close to NOTHING for actual victims of human trafficking, make no mistake.

Alexblue Jun 21, 2021 02:39 PM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

11:17--oh, friends of yours? Because you have no way of knowing if the women who they would ultimately pay for sex were being held against their will, beaten up, threatened and trafficked.

a-1624302572 Jun 21, 2021 12:09 PM
Six Arrests in Santa Maria Human Trafficking Sting

11:19 - the charge of prostitution implies it was consensual, only as far as the "John" was concerned. They need to start busting the pimps and others involved with the trafficking, not just the guys who are looking for prostitutes. It's like charging drug users with drug dealing and all the other crimes associated with the manufacture and distribution of the drug they purchase.

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