Seven women who were believed to be victims of human trafficking were offered help, and another 25 local victims were identified during Operation HOPE, which stands for Help and Opportunity to Prevent Exploitation, in Hot Springs this month.

The Arkansas State Police (ASP) and the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council led the operation in just one day, providing services to the victims like food, lodging, medical care, counseling, therapy, and drug rehabilitation.

The concept of human trafficking.

ASP Director Colonel Mike Hagar said in a press release,

These efforts will help make Arkansas a place where human trafficking is not accepted. Law enforcement in Arkansas is dedicated to helping victims with empathy and providing them the support they need to recover.


Ingram Publishing

The operation included law enforcement and victim service providers from across the state. These agencies all work together to fight human trafficking, rescue victims, and arrest traffickers. The intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers were able to identify local victims before and during the operation. Three children and one adult were also rescued from dangerous situations. The children are now safe and were placed in protective custody, and the adult received help.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Major Stacie Rhoads, CID commander, said,

We not only go after the criminals but also help the victims.


The operation was successful thanks to all these organizations and law enforcement working together. A big thank you to the Arkansas Attorney General's Office, Hot Springs Police Department, Garland County Sheriff's Office, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Harrison Police Department, Arkansas Fusion Center, and several victim advocacy and medical groups.


There was a similar operation in Jonesboro in February of this year that identified 30 adult females and offered help to five of them in Northeast Arkansas. No other details are available since there is an ongoing investigation.

Human trafficking is still very much a big problem in Arkansas and across the United States. If you have information or suspect human trafficking in your area, you can contact the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council at or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

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