FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear joined with other state officials on Wednesday to announce the completion of a human trafficking investigation that resulted in dozens of arrests across the state.
The investigation, known as Operation United Front, was a joint effort between Kentucky and 11 other states. Nationally, 102 suspects were arrested and 59 victims were rescued.
“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.”
“We know that human trafficking transcends county and state lines, and multistate efforts like Operation United Front are essential to addressing the human trafficking crisis in our communities,” said Attorney General Daniel Cameron. “Every arrest made leads to one less trafficker on our streets and sends a message that we will not allow any person to exploit another through labor and sex trafficking. I’m incredibly grateful for the collaboration and for the partnerships exhibited throughout this operation, and I extend my sincere thanks to law enforcement across Kentucky who worked tirelessly to carry out Operation United Front.”
Of the 12 states participating in Operation United Front, Kentucky had by far the most arrests and victims.
Last week, 29 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies from across the state fanned out to arrest 46 people and rescue 21 victims, including two minors.
“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.”
The operations were centered in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Paducah and northern Kentucky.