LAKE COUNTY, Fla. -- Forty people have been arrested after an undercover sting operation in Lake County.

  • 40 people arrested in Lake County undercover operation
  • Detectives targeted people trying to meet children online for sex
  • People accused of prositution were also targeted

Investigators said the operation targeted people online who were attempting to meet children for sexual activity as well as those involved with prostitution.

Operation Catfish was a 10-day, two-phase operation. During phase one of the operation, detectives posed as a teenager online.

"They were posing as a 14-year-old female and pretty quickly the conversations would turn to a sexual nature and arrangements would be made to meet at a vacant house in the South Lake area," said John Herrell with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives also went after people accused of being prostitutes.

"Detectives used websites that people commonly use to meet up for sex and they responded to ads and comments for prostitutes," Herrell said. "When the prostitutes would show up they were taken into custody and placed under arrest."

Including what investigators are calling a 17-year-old human trafficking victim.

"That is still being worked with other jurisdictions and other agencies that investigation is ongoing and active that was very rewarding to recover her," Herell said.

Tomas Lares works with anti-human trafficking organization in Orlando called Florida Abolitionist that works with victims and survivors of trafficking.

"It's like your worst nightmare, they are giving false promises," Lares said.

Lares said it's very dangerous.

"It is deadly, everyday there is someone missing, reported missing, youth are at risk especially those who are running away and homeless."

If you know someone who may be a victim of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.