BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A secret law enforcement operation during the World Games led to dozens of arrests and rescues related to human trafficking in Birmingham.

The operation, known as “Operation Games STOP (Strategic Trafficking Operation)” involved Homeland Security Investigations, as well as different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. During the operation, which lasted approximately four weeks, the following arrests were made in Birmingham:

  • 34 arrests of commercial sex buyers
  • Six arrests on human trafficking-related charges
  • Eight arrests of adult men for online enticement of a minor and traveling to meet a minor for sex

In addition, the following rescues were also made:

  • 15 adult sex trafficking victims identified and provided services
  • Four minor victims of labor trafficking identified and provided services 
  • Two minor sex trafficking victims identified and provided services 
  • 11 minor victims of online sexual exploitation and sextortion identified
  • Seven adult labor trafficking victims identified and provided services
  • Seven missing and endangered minors were located, recovered, and provided services

“Major sporting events like this routinely attract transnational criminal organizations and other bad actors involved in illicit criminal activity such as human exploitation crimes, drug trafficking and the sale of counterfeit merchandise,” Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger said in a statement from Homeland Security. “Working in conjunction with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners we executed a successful operation that disrupted potential threats to public safety, rescued many human trafficking victims and connected them with the trauma-informed victim support services that they will need to recover.” 

Law enforcement agencies that took part in the operation include:

  • Alabama Fusion Center
  • Birmingham Police Department
  • Alabama Attorney General’s Office
  • Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office
  • Fultondale Police Department
  • Bessemer Police Department
  • Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
  • McLennan County Texas Sheriff’s Office
  • Jacksonville, Ala. Police Department
  • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hoover Police Department
  • Oxford Police Department
  • East Metro Area Crime Center
  • Homewood Police Department
  • Vestavia Hills Police Department
  • Butler County Sheriff’s Office
  • Gwinnet County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office
  • Tuscaloosa Police Department
  • Northport Police Department
  • West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force
  • FBI