NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Little Rock and Jonesboro special agents arrested 13 people and rescued three victims following an underage sex trafficking operation in Northeast Arkansas Jan. 30, 2020.
The HSI-led operation, dubbed Operation S.U.I.T. (Stopping Underage Illegal Trafficking), was designed to identify underage and adult victims of sex trafficking in Northeast Arkansas. The joint operation was conducted in partnership with HSI New Orleans special agents, the Jonesboro Police Department, the Craighead Country Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Arkansas State University Police Department and the local hotel industry. Additional victim-centered support was provided by Hope Found, Craighead Country Health Department, Craighead County Juvenile Department and the Arkansas State Crimes Against Children Division,
“When we collaborate with local law enforcement and community partners, we increase our reach and impact,” said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jere T. Miles. “Strong partnerships help us to not only identify and assist victims, but to prosecute offenders and prevent additional trafficking.”
This remains an ongoing criminal investigation. In order to protect the identities of victims, HSI is electing to not proactively release identities of those arrested or rescued.
Every day, HSI special agents around the globe work to uncover, dismantle and disrupt human trafficking. HSI employs a victim-centered approach, where equal value is placed on the identification and stabilization of victims, as well as the investigation and prosecution of traffickers.
Recognizing human trafficking indicators is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. HSI encourage the public to report suspected human trafficking to its tip line by calling 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by submitting a tip online at ICE.gov/tips. The tip line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.