Last week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Operation United Front – a multistate human trafficking sting carried out Aug. 26 by 29 agencies across Kentucky – rescued 21 victims, including two minors, and yielded 46 arrests.
The 12-state human trafficking operation, led by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and Missouri Highway Patrol, is believed to be the first multistate operation of its kind.
Kentucky conducted four trafficking operations simultaneously in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, McCracken County and Northern Kentucky.
“Operation United Front is a great example of creating a better and safer Kentucky, one that is free of this hideous crime,” Gov. Beshear said. “Thank you to all the law enforcement agencies and organizations involved for rescuing these victims and holding these heinous offenders accountable. Unfortunately, this crime is occurring in every county, in every community across the commonwealth, but we will keep fighting to make life better and safer for all Kentuckians, especially our children.”
Among the arrests, 40-year-old Travis Baker of Adams County was charged with soliciting prostitution as part of the string.
Officials in participating states rescued a total of 59 victims, providing needed medical services to 41, and arrested 102 suspects across the country in connection with human trafficking. Each state conducted its own operation simultaneously, while sharing information with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. Prior to the operation, Missouri offered training and information about how to conduct these operations to participating states.
“Operation United Front was a success because of the hard work and dedication of all law enforcement professionals working together,” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. “This sends a message to human traffickers across the country that their actions will not be tolerated. We will be vigilant in finding those who prey upon our most vulnerable, especially our children. While we as law enforcement are responsible for investigating the cases and arresting the individuals involved, there is a whole other dynamic to these cases and that is the care provided by the victim services community.”