High-Risk Victims Unit Recovers Two Juvenile Victims of Sex Trafficking Ring During Aurora Ave Operation

Officers and detectives with SPD’s High Risk Victims Unit (HRVU) recovered two juvenile victims of a suspected sex trafficking ring during an undercover operation Thursday evening on Aurora Avenue North. Detectives also arrested two Johns and contacted five women involved in prostitution on Aurora to offer connections to social services.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated many aspects of policing, SPD’s HRVU’s investigations of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking on Aurora have continued with additional safety protocols. These operations—which often involve close, undercover contact with individuals on the street or in cars—have primarily focused on arresting men buying sex, or trafficking women, on Aurora, as was the case Thursday evening.

Police arrested two men who offered to pay undercover officers for sex, and HRVU detectives contacted women involved in prostitution to provide connections to housing, employment, substance abuse recovery, health care, and other services. Police also worked to gather information about unreported sexual assaults by johns, and violent pimps.

During the operation, investigators also contacted two juveniles—both 17 years old—believed to be victims of a sex trafficking ring. Officers released the teens to family and continue to investigate.

Officers processed and released the arrested johns from the North Precinct and will request charges with the City Attorney’s Office.

The HRVU is dedicated to combatting commercial sexual exploitation, and HVRU detectives investigate sex and labor trafficking of both foreign and domestic victims, as well as sexual assaults experienced by those in the sex trade.