COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies rescued nine human trafficking victims and two children during an operation at a Missouri hotel, authorities said Saturday.
The operation Friday night at the Holiday Inn East hotel in Columbia resulted in two suspects also being detained, the Missouri Attorney General’s office said in a news release.
“We’re working every single day to make Missouri the most inhospitable state in the union to human traffickers, and last night’s operation was another step towards that goal,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.
Participating agencies included the Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, among others.
“Traffickers show no respect for their victims and prey on them for personal gain,” said Columbia Police Department Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter, commander of the department’s Investigations Bureau.
“We will continue to work with Attorney General Schmitt and other law enforcement partners to pursue those who prey on others and to assure this activity no longer occurs in Columbia.”
Both children were under the age of 10, said Chris Nuelle, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.
Law enforcement authorities released few details, citing the ongoing investigation.