Police in Arizona arrested 34 suspected predators accused of targeting children for sex crimes and human trafficking, authorities said Friday.
The multi-agency sting, dubbed “Operation Broken Hearts,” nabbed men and women from 21 to 66 years old, most of whom live in the Phoenix area, according to police.
As part of the investigation, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and smartphone apps commonly sought by people looking to engage in illegal sex acts with children, the Phoenix Police Department said in a news release.
The suspects charged in the operation responded to one of the ads believing they were communicating with a child and then “solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts,” according to the release.
Police in Arizona arrested 34 suspected predators accused of targeting children for sex crimes and human trafficking. ( Phoenix Police Department/)
The charges they face include human trafficking, child sex trafficking, attempted sex conduct with a minor, luring of a minor for sexual exploitation, possession of dangerous drugs and furnishing harmful material to a minor.
Phoenix police were joined in the effort by the police departments in Mesa, Tempe and Chandler as well as the Attorney General’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.
Authorities urged those who know about anyone being trafficked to contact their local police department or the National Human Trafficking Hotline.