A human trafficking sting conducted by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department led to the arrest of more than 70 individuals.

Sheriff Kevin McMahill has reportedly made combatting sex and human trafficking a priority for the LVMPD, and the department shared results this week from its operation conducted during Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend.

Deputy Chief Nicholas Farese said that “five juveniles were recovered and identified as potential victims” during the operation, according to KTNV Las Vegas.

“LVMPD Officer Hector Cintron, Captain of the Gang, Vice, and Special Investigations Bureau, revealed that 36 individuals were arrested for pandering (or trafficking), 31 were arrested for soliciting services, and 7 were arrested for luring a child,” the outlet reports.

All suspects taken into custody reportedly believed they were “meeting a child for sex.”

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KTNV Las Vegas reports:

“Though my bureau is relentless in pursuing predators… we cannot do this alone,” Capt. Cintran said.

Cintran also highlighted his team’s “victim-centered approach” to this operation, which required that a victim advocate respond to the scene alongside officers to provide the victim with immediate resources. These resources included anything from financial assistance to emergency housing for those seeking immediate protection from their traffickers.

“Most victims do not see themselves as victims, and it’s important to address the psychological component of this crime, whether it’s sexual abuse at a young age or a predator targeting an emotionally vulnerable person,” Capt. Cintran said.

Deputy Chief Farese also added that only 21 — or 10% — of victims contacted by officers accepted services, though he says it’s “not uncommon.”

“It often takes multiple contacts with these victims before they decide they are ready for help,” he said.

Deputy Chief Farese also highlighted the importance of educating the community about how to spot potential human trafficking victims, further emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts across the Las Vegas valley.

KTNV Las Vegas aired this video report on the operation:

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