Florida authorities just wrapped a large-scale operation that sought to shut down a child sex trafficking ring that had spread into Lake and Polk counties in Central Florida. The sting was called “Operation L and P” and led to the arrest of 101 people.
On Tuesday morning the authorities held a press conference to release the details of the operation.
Many of the offenders who were arrested had jobs working with kids – particularly at the Orlando area theme parks Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld. SeaWorld quickly released a statement that the men involved had already been fired and were no longer on staff at SeaWorld.
Perhaps the most influential of those arrested was a man named Ahmed Saleem. Saleem is the founder of the Saleem Academy, an organization that works with Muslim youth. He is also the Orlando area coordinator for the Counsel on Islamic American Relations (CAIR).
The operation was similar to the old MSNBC show To Catch a Predator with Chris Hansen. Twenty-two of the men arrested (including Saleem) had traveled to the town of Clermont, Florida, thinking that they would be engaging in sexual acts with a child between the ages of 10 and 14. They were each arrested upon arriving at the location in Clermont.
The 79 other arrests were made on charges connected with prostitution (not necessarily child prostitution).
The sheriff’s office hopes that the success of this operation will keep other possible sexual predators from using the internet to hunt innocent children.
While this story is disgusting (and heartbreaking), it is good to know that the issue of sexual predators hunting children is of utmost importance to local police.