Nine individuals were arrested over three days in relation to San Luis Obispo County’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force efforts, District Attorney Dan Dow announced in a press release March 1. The Task Force’s enforcement disrupted two criminal trafficking networks.
Three individuals –– William Feland, Luis Gonzalez and Robert Walls Jr. –– were arrested for contacting a 13-year-old minor with the intent of committing a sexual offense. They are due to be arraigned in Superior Court, Department 1 on March 24.
Four individuals –– Joseph Armas, Alex Lopez, Neil Miller and James Wormley –– were arrested for solicitation of prostitution and are set to be arraigned in Superior Court on June 1.
The final two individuals were arrested for pimping. These cases are active and ongoing investigations.
“Our local anti-human trafficking enforcement operations are designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex that leads to the exploitation of minors and adults every day in our community,” Dow said in the press release. “A warning to those thinking about purchasing sex: please stop and consider that one million kids are trafficked for sex each year and you are making it more widespread.”
Dow established the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force shortly after he was elected in 2014. The operations of the task force set out to disrupt networks of human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation occurring on the Central Coast, identifying and assisting survivors of trafficking and reducing the demand for trafficking and exploitation of minors by identifying and prosecuting would-be purchasers.
“The demand for prostitution creates a lucrative cash market that traffickers fill with victims, many who are children, even in our beautiful community,” Dow said in the press release.
For four years the task force has participated in an annual statewide operation called Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, where more than 80 federal, state and local agencies across California focus on combatting human trafficking in Southern California. The operation is led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.