Staff Report

Sheriff Alex Villanueva from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference Feb. 4, to detail the results from the sixth annual Operation Reclaim and Rebuild enforcement operation. The operation was executed during January to correlate with National Human Trafficking Awareness month and was focused on rescuing victims of human trafficking and aiding them in rebuilding their lives.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office participated in the operation as part of the Santa Barbara County Human Trafficking Task Force along with the Lompoc Police Department, Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Barbara Police Department and the Santa Maria Police Department. Together, with the Ventura and San Luis Obispo Human Trafficking Task Forces, a total of 3 pimps, 22 prostitutes and 14 solicitors of prostitutes were arrested. The names of the arrestees are not available for release due to ongoing investigations. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force was established in 2016 with a $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant was renewed in 2020 with an additional $1.2 million in funding for three years. 

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip line at (805)681-4171 or provide an anonymous tip on our website.