The Federal government concluded a three-year investigation into a criminal enterprise — dubbed “Operation Asian Touch” — in which women were forced to live in horrifying conditions while they were ordered to perform sexual acts on customers. The investigation fell apart, however, because the “heroes” investigating the human sex trafficking were, themselves, engaging in human sex trafficking.
Agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Arizona claimed to be “fighting” human sex trafficking by paying the sex slaves for hand jobs and then using that as a pretext to arrest them and seize what little money they made through tips.
The years-long operation yielded just three misdemeanor charges stemming from a single sexual encounter which authorities interrupted during a raid. No other charges could be brought forward because authorities refused to release the names of the “investigators” who paid the victims for sex acts.
During the investigation, Lon Weigand, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Arizona, praised the horrifying and senseless operation that helped in busting a “transnational criminal organization.”
However, he left out the fact that his agents facilitated and participated in that organization. As Trib Live reports:
What Weigand didn’t say at that September 2018 news conference — although HSI documents show some supervisors knew — was that federal undercover agents repeatedly paid for and engaged in sex acts with suspected victims.
That fact, coupled with HSI’s refusal to let its agents testify, caused the collapse of a case that was more than three years in the making. All felony charges against the alleged ringleaders were dropped. And sex-trafficking experts said the women were likely re-traumatized.
Defense attorneys were outraged when they learned of the agents’ actions.
“That’s our tax money,” said attorney Josephine Hallam, whose grandfather was former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. “Shouldn’t they be at the border, or doing something with terrorists rather than getting sex acts?”
Yes, they should.
A lawyer for one of the women charged in the operation questioned how federal agents paying potential sex trafficking victims for hand jobs somehow protected America’s national security.
“It is unclear how an ICE officer having sexual relations with human trafficking victims in Mohave County, Arizona, protects the nation from terrorist attacks or secures the borders,” wrote attorney Brad Rideout in a motion seeking the real names of the undercover agents, who were identified in police documents only as “Arturo” and “Sergio.”
Sadly, this case in Arizona is anything but isolated. TFTP has covered countless cases of cops paying potential sex trafficking victims for sex, only to bust them after. It takes a special kind of evil to coerce a potential sex slave into a sex act only to kidnap and cage them after, thereby increasing their chances for future suffering and abuse from their traffickers. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of those people in law enforcement.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported in 2014, Honolulu police officers urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations. For years, several states allowed their cops to have sex with prostitutes and victims of human trafficking while at the same time arresting these women.
What’s more, as TFTP reported last year, a shocking report from the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women paints a disturbing picture of law enforcement and their role in sex trafficking. The report found that instead of preventing child and adult sex trafficking, many police officers are participating in it.
The report is titled “Sex Trafficking in Hawaii: The Stories of Survivors,” which detailed the testimonials from multiple victims. One particularly disturbing part of the report was the fact that almost half of all the victims interviewed reported that police officers participated in their abuse and victimization.
“The corruption of members of the criminal justice system reported by the participants in the study was pervasive in their stories of being prostituted,” the report noted.
The report found that the average age of those being trafficked is just 14-years-old, showing how early the abuse began.
One of the victims interviewed, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons explained that “the same people that are charging you for prostitution are the people turning around and buying it from you.”
Police officers using their power to exploit human trafficking victims is a common thread among many cases. On multiple occasions, the Free Thought Project has reported interviews of former child sex trafficking victims who’ve all noted that they had nowhere to go as police and high-level politicians all participated in the abuse.
In case after case, the Free Thought Project reports on horrifying instances of child sex rings that were allowed to go on for decades because politicians — including heads of states — policemen, clergy, and others were all in on the sick game.