Police break up major sex trafficking ring in Southern US


Police have arrested 12 people in connection with a sex trafficking ring in the south eastern United States.


Spencer Platt

Eleven women who were forced to work as prostitutes in the Southern United States have been freed after police broke up a major sex trafficking ring. 

Authorities in Savannah, GA have indicted eight men and four women in connection with the federal probe, called Operation Dark Night, reports Associated Press. 

The gang is thought to have been smuggling women from Mexico and Central America since 2008, moving them to different cities every week in the south east, reports the BBC.

"Some of these women would be forced to perform up to 30 acts of prostitution a day," said Edward Tarver, US. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia at a news conference in Savannah.

The women were sent between rural communities and major cities in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. 

One Mexican national, Joaquin Mendez Hernandez, was identified as the leader of the gang.

Mendez Hernandez was thought to have lured women into the country with the promise of employment. Once they arrived, he forced them to work as prostitutes. 

The statement alleges that Mendez Hernandez threatened to send one Mexican woman back home unless she serviced 25 customers per day, reports AFP.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said the US made 967 arrests in connection with people trafficking and sex tourism last year alone, according to the BBC.

"To those who would believe that sex trafficking doesn't happen in America, reflect on this case and think again," Morton said.