SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s Fil-Am Attorney General Sean Reyes went on an undercover mission in Colombia last October to participate in the takedown of a child sex-trafficking ring.
“This seemed like a really unique opportunity to go down there, look evil in the eye, stare it down and say, ‘We’re going to do something about this,’” Reyes said in an interview with Balitang America.
Reyes made the trek with Operation Underground Railroad, who set up the sting by posing as wealthy investors who wanted to purchase the children as sex slaves.
Reyes played the role of translator and body guard for one of the businessmen.
“The hardest part was trying to stay in character, trying to stay focused when you’re totally revolted and you’ve got these guys who are wanting to hug you and slap you on the back because they think you’re best friends and now business partners, and you just want to shoot them,” he said.
At one point, he had to stall the cartel members for 45 minutes until Navy Seals and the Colombian military showed up by boat and raided the compound. In the end, they rescued 54 children, ages 9 to 16.
“It was really amazing to be able to do something to return girls, little girls, back to their families. Families that had probably been praying for their safe return for many many years,” he said.
Reyes hopes the mission will bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
“If that can help us educate people and bring needed resources to address this issue, then I certainly think it was worth it on many levels,” he added.
While Reyes was honored this month as a rising star at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in San Diego, Calif., he spoke about how much of an issue human trafficking is throughout the world, including the Philippines.
“I’m just really laser focused right now on taking care of business like combating human trafficking, which is an issue not just here domestically but also in the Philippines,” Reyes explained. “There are many of our own in the Filipino community that have had children abducted, being affected by those type of things.”
The Utah attorney general also said that his experience has prompted him to make fighting human trafficking a priority in his office throughout the next two years of his term.