FBI, local officials put pimps on notice for Mardi Gras, NBA All-Star events

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The FBI's New Orleans office teamed up with State Police and local law enforcement for a two-day operation that rescued 11 suspected human trafficking victims in the New Orleans area.

Local officials announced the rescues at a Wednesday afternoon and also warned pimps and human traffickers to stay away from the New Orleans area for Mardi Gras and the upcoming NBA All-Star game.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city always sees an increase in human trafficking during big events.

"This is not going to be a safe haven during the All-Star Game nor Mardi Gras," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet. "If you are a pimp, a human trafficker, do not come to New Orleans during Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, or for that matter any time of the year."

The FBI New Orleans Human Trafficking operation, although local and smaller in size, is very similar to the FBI’s nationwide operation dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” which identifies pimps and traffickers during large-scale events and sporting events, the FBI said.

"Many times, the women are held against their will, forced into a life of prostitution, housed in less than humane conditions, and tortured if they don’t 'earn' enough money to satisfy their pimps or traffickers," according to the FBI.