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Nine Arrested in Human Trafficking Sting

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DIXON -- With a few clicks at his computer, Fairfield police Sgt. Franco Cesar surfed the Internet for what looked like underage prostitutes.

"The prevalent website for human trafficking that we've found is Backpage," the investigative sergeant said.

Officers with the Fairfield and Dixon police departments teamed up and went undercover Saturday night, posing as customers, but the goal of the operation was to find potential juvenile human trafficking victims.

"We targeted people that looked juvenile, like if they say they're 18 or 19, they don't look 18 or 19. We'll target them because our main focus was human trafficking, that was our primary focus for that night," he said.

After contacting the women, and agreeing on a price for specific services, they met at an apartment complex in Dixon where officers met them face to face. And, that’s when they made the arrests.

It's an operation the Fairfield police department has done for years now, along with other agencies.

"We targeted juvenile looking females. However, none of them were juveniles," Cesar said.

By the end of the night, police arrested nine people -- several women suspected of prostituting and the men who accompanied them.

Some of the women told police they don’t consider themselves victims of human trafficking.

But the operation’s focus remains the same -- saving victims of human trafficking

"Back then, we would arrest female victims that were juveniles, take them to juvenile hall. But now our strategy is actually giving them resources to get them out of the lifestyle," he said.

Even though they didn’t find any minors, the team’s work makes an impact.

"Even though we focused on juveniles, we didn't find them. I think when word gets out that the police is doing a sting in the city of Dixon, or whatever city it is, I think it tends to limit that type of activity for several months," he added.