12 arrested in Hillsborough County for human trafficking

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A covert human trafficking operation at a local hotel has arrested 12 people, according to Hillsborough County lawmakers.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said it conducted an undercover operation on May 16-17 against those who wanted to buy sex from sex workers.

The sheriff’s office worked with Florida law enforcement to apprehend the suspects.

“We will not tolerate human trafficking in our county,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “By arresting anyone involved in purchasing sex acts, we are sending a clear signal that these illegal activities will not be tolerated. We are committed to protecting victims and holding perpetrators accountable.”

Photo credit: HCSO

MPs said among those arrested during the operation was 28-year-old Brandon Martinez. Martinez was in Polk County for parole for escaping incarceration.

Another suspect was 36-year-old Charles Fowler Jr., a registered sex offender. The sheriff’s office said Fowler was on an ankle watch on charges of human trafficking, including lewd assault, pregnant a child, recruiting a minor for prostitution, and using a child to enhance sexual performance.

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