Mon May 20, 2024

By Press Release

Police Reports


Asp Human Trafficking Hot Springs
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Seven women believed to be victims of human trafficking were offered services, and another 25 local victims were identified as part of Operation HOPE (Help and Opportunity to Prevent Exploitation), which took place in Hot Springs this month. 

Arkansas State Police (ASP) and members of the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council conducted the recovery operation over a single day, offering victims services such as food, lodging, on-site medical services, counseling, therapy, and drug rehabilitation.

"These concerted efforts will significantly contribute to making Arkansas a place where human trafficking is not tolerated," said ASP Director Colonel Mike Hagar. "The dedicated law enforcement community in Arkansas is fully committed to approaching the grim reality of human trafficking with empathy, aiming to rescue victims from the shadows and provide them with the support and care they need to recover."

The multidisciplinary operation consisted of law enforcement and victim service providers from around the state, working together to combat human trafficking, recover victims, and detain traffickers to make our communities safer. Before and during the operation, intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers identified local victims. Leading up to the operation, three children and one adult were removed from exploitative, vulnerable, and unstable situations. All minors were taken into protective custody, and the adult received victim services.

"Not only do we hunt the wicked, but we also seek out the wounded," said Major Stacie Rhoads, CID commander.

The operation was made possible through the coordinated efforts of representatives from federal, state, local, and non-government organizations, including the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, Hot Springs Police Department, Garland County Sheriff's Office, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Harrison Police Department, Arkansas Fusion Center, along with victim advocates and medical personnel from the Regional Intervention of Sexual Exploitation "RISE," The Genesis Project, Into the Light, ACASA, Saline County Safe Haven, River Valley Medical Wellness, and the NWA Forensic Nurse Team.

During a similar Jonesboro operation in February, 30 adult females were identified, and five were offered services in Northeast Arkansas.

ASP cannot release any further details now as the investigation is ongoing.

Human Trafficking continues to be a problem in Arkansas and across the United States, and law enforcement will continue to take it seriously. If you have information or suspect human trafficking in your area, please get in touch with the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council at [email protected] or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.