Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department task force targets human traffickers, child porn

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A task force with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is targeting human trafficking and child pornography.

A new joint task force led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is on a mission to stop human trafficking, especially young victims exploited for sex.

ABC7 was granted exclusive access to a ride-along with the task force while they were in action.

One of the first stops was a "no-knock" wake up call as deputies knocked a door down and entered a home believed to have child pornography inside.

"It's extremely difficult, we see the worst of the worst," Peter Hahn of the sheriff's department said. "If they're doing illegal activities and police come to their house, they may react in a violent manner."

Hahn, who is the leader of the task force, said child pornography is just the beginning and it sometimes leads to organized operations of human trafficking that exploit young girls.

He said most are local children from the community.

"The ones that are being trafficked on the streets are out of foster homes," Hahn explained. "They don't even need to be that, we have girls that are either runaways or they just go out on the street and they get picked up by somebody."

It often starts online with a personal ads, he said, with a person asking for photos and then it escalates.

Hahn said it's about manipulation, as the people on the streets control the young girls with mental and physical abuse.

"The people doing them are good con-artists. They talk a good game, they befriend the girls and they are able to gain their confidence," Hahn said.

California is one of the largest areas for human trafficking in the United States. Between 2010 and 2012, the state identified nearly 1,300 victims.

"There's one thing being in this unit has helped me with is to be more understanding of my children and other children," Hahn said. "It happens, they get in over their head and they don't know how to get out and they just need somebody to help."

Related Topics:
los angeles county sheriff's departmentchild pornographyHuman TraffickingprostitutionLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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