Federal authorities say they uncovered a sex trafficking ring in the French Quarter in recent days, rescuing five women and arresting eight men.
The women were forced to come here to work as prostitutes for pimps, authorities said.
Agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a task force involving Louisiana State Police, the NOPD and the FBI, have been heavily targeting human trafficking and counterfeit goods with the influx of tourists here for this weekend’s Super Bowl.
None of the men arrested for trafficking were area residents. Their identities were not immediately released.
Raymond Parmer, special agent in charge of the New Orleans ICE office, said sex trafficking has historically been a problem during big events like the Super Bowl.
Details on the arrests were scant this morning. Parmer, speaking at a press conference this morning regarding ICE efforts to combat counterfeit goods, said the agency could not release additional details.
The arrested men are currently being held on state charges while federal investigators prepare a federal case. Parmer said the investigation is ongoing.
Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities have all vowed in recent weeks to step up prostitution and trafficking efforts with the crush of crowds expected.
Earlier this month, WWL-TV looked at closely at the issue, as authorities and advocates prepared for the visitors.
"The Super Bowl is actually estimated to be one of the largest human trafficking events in the world and it's because anytime there is increased demand, there will increased supply," said Kara Van de Carr, executive director of Eden House, a home for trafficking victims in New Orleans.