During World Cannabis Week when thousands of tourists visited Colorado, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies conducted operations to curb sex trafficking and exploitation, which resulted in the recovery of five children and the arrests of nine adults for trafficking and 26 adults for prostitution. Many other adults being trafficked were contacted and offered food, shelter, treatment, and other services.
The sex trafficking operations were conducted across the Denver Metro area and along the Front Range during the week of April 18 because large-scale events attract tourists and a can also create a demand for prostitution.
FBI personnel conducted research before and after World Cannabis Week in 2015 and noted a 35 percent increase in the number of online escort postings. Also, during this year’s event, nearly 40 percent of escorts told police they traveled to Colorado for the special event.
“Whenever an event draws people from around the world, you will see an increase in sex trafficking,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “The reality is major events will always have some organized criminal activity, including people who facilitate and profit from prostituting adults and children.”
One of the recovered minors, a 15-year-old victim, had been transported to Colorado from California by traffickers specifically for “420 Week.” Law enforcement arrested nine alleged traffickers on numerous felonies, including Pedro Davalos for human trafficking for sexual servitude.
Police also arrested alleged pedophile James Brent Anderson, who allegedly made arrangements with an undercover officer to purchase a 7-year-old for sex.