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Authorities Rescue 13 Teens In Wide-Reaching Sex Trafficking Ring

AP Photo/Michael Balsamo

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, far right, announces what authorities believe to be one of the largest human trafficking cases in the western United States dying a news conference in in Los Angeles Thursday, July 27, 2017.

AP Photo/Michael Balsamo

Jasmin Tuffaha, KPCC

California law enforcement agencies busted a major sex trafficking operation that reached throughout the state – and to Nevada. They’ve rescued 13 female victims, including eight teens being used as prostitutes.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the seven-month investigation showed the alleged pimps found some of the teenage victims through social media.

"They're coerced into it," McDonnell said. "They're often threatened that if you call anybody if you call the police, we'll kill your family. They'll drug them, they'll rape them."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said it's tempting to think human trafficking doesn't happen in our own backyard.

"However, recent data from California show that 72 percent of sex trafficking victims whose country of origin was identified are American," Becerra said.

Becerra’s office will prosecute the two suspects in custody. A third suspect is still wanted.

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