Photo Courtesy of Nury Martinez

VAN NUYS – LAPD and federal investigators, working an undercover sting operation in Van Nuys, arrested several suspects on Jan. 21 who were charged with pimping and pandering.

L.A. City Councilmember Nury Martinez was at the site in the final hours of the sting, and during the arrest and investigation. Martinez helped create the Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force in the effort to eliminate the prostitution and human trafficking activity along the Sepulveda and Lankershim corridors.

“Valley residents are fed up with seeing young women put up for sale on our street corners,” Martinez said. “As the only woman on the L.A. City Council, I take it very seriously and personally that I be the voice for these young girls and all women who are victims of human trafficking.”

 The arrests were the result of the coordination of both local and federal law enforcement agencies. The investigation focused on a brothel that had four locations. Search warrants were served at those four locations throughout the Valley on Jan. 21, including two in Martinez’s Sixth District.

 “With the help of federal law enforcement and many resources within LAPD, we were able to dismantle a large and complex prostitution ring,” said Lt. Marc Evans of the Operations Valley Bureau, and head of the Human Trafficking Task Force.

The Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force worked with LAPD Major Crimes, Foothill Vice, Detective Support and Vice Division and the United States Department of Homeland Security on this investigation and arrests.

“Both the LAPD and federal investigators did an exceptional job at taking down this criminal enterprise that exploits women,” Martinez said.

Councilwoman Martinez, members of the Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force, community leaders and valley residents will speak today, Thursday, January 28, at CSUN during a summit called “Reaching for Hope” on the issue of human trafficking. This summit will discuss the Valley’s prostitution problem, and identify ways to help curb. The event is open to the public.