Utah company helps sting operation take down human sex traffickers, rescue victims
Mar 24, 2022, 5:14 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 8:51 pm
SPANISH FORK, Utah — A Utah County task force recently arrested 21 people and identified and rescued three victims of sex trafficking in large part because of a donation from a local company.
The team that conducts these operations is highly specialized and the projects are expensive. That’s why the Utah County Sheriff’s Office took the time to thank a local foundation for its help at a news conference announcing a successful sting operation last month.
The Malouf Foundation, based in Logan, Utah is focused on helping to stop human trafficking. As part of that effort, it created a free, online education program called OnWatch, to help individuals and companies identify human trafficking.
“We got into this cause and chose our flagship cause, based on being educated ourselves,” said Jake Neeley, Executive Director of the Malouf Foundation.
The website offers ways to recognize victims of human trafficking and how to respond to it. “It’s focused on the United States and led by a team of survivors who have lived the experience of being trafficked.”
The solar company, Radix, took part in the online training and donated.
“They donated $60,000 to the sheriff’s office for the sole purpose of human trafficking prevention,” said Lt. Jason Randall with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Randall said the sting was a success. The team, which includes several police departments, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security, and the Attorney General’s office, conducted the sting in mid-February. Thanks to the private donation, 21 predators were taken off the streets, and three victims were identified and rescued. Randall said human trafficking is a problem many people still don’t know about.
“There are victims out there screaming for help and they’re in our own neighborhoods,” Randall said. It’s why he’s thankful for companies like the Malouf Foundation and their campaign of awareness and education.
This operation was one of many that will take place over the next several months. While the arrests are critical, Randall said the best part is helping victims.
“The most important aspect of this operation was the fact that we were able to identify and rescue three victims that were being human trafficked.” All in Utah County.
Click here to get more information about OnWatch.