Eight people from Northeast Tennessee have been arrested on human trafficking-related charges, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
A two-day undercover operation by special agents with the TBI Human Trafficking Unit and detectives with the Johnson City Police Department has resulted in the arrest of several men accused of seeking illicit sex from minors, the TBI said in a news release.
Over a two-day period beginning March 12, as part of an undercover investigation aimed at addressing human trafficking in East Tennessee, authorities placed several decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases, the release states. The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors.
As a result of the operation, detectives and agents arrested eight men and booked them into the Washington County Jail. The arrests include Bluff City resident Joseph Cunningham and Bristol resident John Hutchison. Piney Flats resident Jared Curtis was also arrested. All three face a charge of trafficking a person for a commercial sex act.
Part of the operation also focused on identifying potential victims of trafficking. Four adult women were cited and offered services such as housing and counseling through Grow Free Tennessee, a program of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
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