Utah company helps sting operation take out human sex traffickers and save victims

SPANISH FORK, Utah – A Utah County task force recently arrested 21 people and identified and rescued three victims of sex trafficking largely thanks to a donation from a local business.

The team that conducts these operations is highly specialized and the projects are costly. That’s why the Utah County Sheriff’s Office took the time to thank a local foundation for its assistance at a press conference announcing a successful sting operation last month.

The Malouf Foundation, based in Logan, Utah, focuses on combating human trafficking. As part of this effort, he created a free online education program called OnWatch, to help individuals and businesses identify human trafficking.

“We got into this cause and chose our flagship cause, based on our own upbringing,” said Jake Neeley, executive director of the Malouf Foundation.

The website offers ways to recognize and respond to victims of human trafficking. “It’s US-focused and led by a team of survivors who have lived the experience of trafficking.”

Solar company Radix participated in the online training and made a donation.

“They donated $60,000 to the sheriff’s office for the sole purpose of preventing human trafficking,” said Lt. Jason Randall of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Randall declared the sting a success. The team, which includes multiple police departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security and the Attorney General’s Office, carried out the attack in mid-February. Thanks to the private donation, 21 predators were removed from the streets and three victims were identified and rescued. Randall said human trafficking is an issue many people are still unaware of.

“There are victims crying out for help and they’re in our own neighborhoods,” Randall said. That’s why he’s grateful to companies like the Malouf Foundation and their awareness and education campaign.

This operation was one of many that will take place over the next few months. Although the arrests are critical, Randall said the best part was helping the victims.

“The most important aspect of this operation was the fact that we were able to identify and rescue three victims who were victims of human trafficking.” All in Utah County.

Click here for more information about OnWatch.

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