August 11th, 2011
02:05 PM ET

Setting up the sting

Police officers in Anaheim, California, conduct an undercover operation aimed at sex traffickers.

Fighting forced prostitution in California
August 9th, 2011
09:18 PM ET

Pimps feed on twisting Californian dream

Orange County, California (CNN) - "Hello? Hey, what are you doing, girl? You just woke up? You going to be free to hang out in a little bit?" Shane, a vice unit undercover investigator, is on the phone with a woman who placed an online ad offering adult services.

"Okay I'm going to head down to the Disneyland area and get a hotel." He's making a date, and choosing his words carefully.

"I just want to make sure I get what I need. Are you bringing condoms or do I need to bring condoms? You've got some? And it's 200 for an hour right?" Shane has become an expert at scoring that important criminal admission over the phone - making sure there is no confusion that sex is expected on this date.

"From what I found, sometimes you can use too much jargon," Shane explained. "If you use too many street terms you can come off like a cop so I almost talk to them like, "Hey this is what I'm looking for" - just common terms and maybe throw in just a little bit of street jargon.

"If you call them rude or real vulgar they'll just hang up on you. So, to them it's a business and they run it like it's a business, so there's that fine dance you have to do with them in negotiation you have to play to get the deal to work."

This is the first step in a human trafficking operation by the vice unit. Next, the team will wait for Shane's date at a local hotel, hoping to eventually grab the date's pimp. FULL POST

August 9th, 2011
01:37 PM ET

Freeing women can be 'hardest part' of police work

Officers in California scour online dating ads looking for possible human trafficking victims - and then arrange a date.

They say one of the hardest parts of the job is dealing with traumatized women who don’t think they can successfully escape.

The operations - part of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force - include setting up an undercover sting and trying to catch the woman’s pimp.

August 8th, 2011
01:49 PM ET

In the land of opulence, police pursue pimps

There are many faces of human trafficking. There are the victims, there are the traffickers and there are those who try to destroy the connection between them - the investigators.

As part of our Freedom Project Undercover series, Martin Savidge takes a look at how human trafficking is fought in Orange County, California.

Spanish raids free slave labor
July 5th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Unraveling the web of Spain's sweatshops

In a series this week, CNN shows the struggle against human trafficking through the eyes of the investigators at Mossos d'Esquadra, the police agency for the Catalonia region of Spain.

They wear football jerseys, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. They look like ordinary customers having a beer at the corner pub but that ability to blend in is also key to their role in the fight against human trafficking.

They are the men and women of an elite human trafficking unit in Spain's Catalonia region and they have to get key players in criminal gangs to trust them.

The region is a hot spot for traffickers. Barcelona - its biggest city and one of Europe's marquee tourist destinations - provides a cloak for traffickers who bring victims in on tourist visas.

Large-scale criminal organizations from Eastern Europe, Africa and China are setting up shop - bringing people into Spain under the guise of giving them jobs, then keeping their passports and forcing them to work in nightmarish conditions, either in prostitution or labor exploitation. (Read more about Spain's hot spot for human trafficking)

It has kept the Mossos d'Esquadra undercover unit, which is formally called the Central Unit Against Trafficking of Human Beings, very busy. FULL POST

July 5th, 2011
08:24 AM ET

Spain's hot spot for human trafficking

In a series this week, CNN shows the struggle against human trafficking through the eyes of the investigators at Mossos d'Esquadra, the police agency for the Catalonia region of Spain.

Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in southern Europe and the largest city in Spain's Catalonia region.

The location's beauty and mild weather draw tourists, but traffickers like the region, too: Vacationers can become clients for prostitution and traffickers also use tourist visas to bring people into the country.

The human trafficking unit for the region's police agency, Mossos d'Esquadra, stays busy. FULL POST

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