Nearly 40 people including a 37-year-old Long Beach man were arrested in an undercover operation Wednesday as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force continue to crack down on the practice in the region.

In total, 36 adults were arrested and three females were rescued and identified as sexually exploited children in the operation that was conducted at the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and Elm Street in Compton according to a release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Sixteen men were arrested for soliciting undercover deputies for sex acts while four others were arrested on charges of pandering when they attempted to have an undercover deputy work for them as a commercial sex worker.

Thirty-seven-year-old Damien Henry of Long Beach was among those arrested on pandering charges. The males arrested were transported and booked at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood.

Of the 17 females arrested, four were identified as sex workers who solicited sex acts from undercover deputies while the other 13 were arrested for loitering for the purpose of prostitution. Five of the females accepted offers for victims assistance from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) and will receive ongoing services after being identified as victims of human trafficking.

The task force included multiple federal, state and local agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Victims of human trafficking or those who might know victims are encouraged to call 1-888-539-2973 or to report the crimes to their local law enforcement agencies.  

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.