(USNewsBreak.com) – Human trafficking presents a real problem in the United States and globally. Millions fall victim to the trade each year when criminals force them into it. Law enforcement agencies around the US have teamed up with federal authorities to cut back on trafficking operations. A recent sting in Georgia resulted in the arrest of a senior Pentagon official.
On November 15 and 16, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office to carry out a human trafficking sting operation. Authorities arrested 26 people in conjunction with soliciting sex, pandering, pimping, and drug possession, including 64-year-old Stephen Hovanic, a senior official with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). He worked as the chief of staff for the Americas division.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 28, 2023
Hovanic allegedly sought to pay for sex in a motel room on November 15, but the woman with whom he spoke turned out to be an undercover agent. Video footage reportedly showed him talking to the woman about what he wanted, asking if they could “do a half hour.” When police made the arrest, Hovanic claimed he was only seeking a massage. Authorities charged him with pandering, a misdemeanor in the Peach State.
The two sheriff’s offices counted the operation as a success. They managed to save six victims and move them to safety. One agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said operations like this one are essential because “sex buyers are a huge problem in the industry,” according to Fox 5. The agent explained that taking them out of the equation removed the motivation to victimize women.
The DoDEA spoke with Channel 2 Action News, acknowledging it was “aware of an alleged incident” involving one of its employees. However, the official said, “it would be inappropriate to comment further” due to the legal processes. However, as journalists prepared this article, the DoDEA listed Hovanic’s position as vacant.
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