ANAHEIM, Calif. (February 9, 2023) – A convicted felon from Long Beach has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and pimping two women as part of a multi-agency effort including the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, Irvine Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to combat human trafficking.
Darrell Elder, 42, of Long Beach was arrested by investigators from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), Irvine Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), after a weeklong investigation into the trafficking of a woman in the City of Anaheim.
On January 24, 2023, investigators contacted a woman, believed to be a sex worker on Beach Boulevard in the City of Anaheim. She denied being a victim of pimping or human trafficking and refused services offered by investigators. Despite the victim’s denials that she was a victim of a crime, investigators, who practice the Victim Centered Approach, believed the female was being exploited and continued the investigation.
Darrell Elder was ultimately identified as the individual responsible for trafficking the victim, keeping the woman working for him through the use of extreme violence over an extended period of time.
On January 31, 2023, OCHTTF, Irvine PD, and HSI personnel arrested Elder in the City of Long Beach. Elder was booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility for human trafficking of an adult as well as pimping a second female adult.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged Elder with one felony count of human trafficking, two felony counts of pimping, and two felony counts of pandering. He is scheduled to be arraigned on February 16, 2023 at the Central Justice Center in Department C57.
Elder’s arrest and prosecution is a result of Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, which is a multiagency, statewide initiative that focuses on rescuing victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking, identifying and arresting their captors, and disrupting demand for vulnerable victims. Operation Reclaim & Rebuild, which was carried out the week of January 23, 2023, is timed to coincide with January’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that human trafficking will not be tolerated in California.
This investigation illustrates the commitment of the OCHTTF and partnering agencies in locating and identifying victims of pimping or human trafficking. Given this victim population does not self-identify, the Victim Centered Approach guides investigators in looking at facts and evidence in each case, instead of statements from a reluctant victim when determining whether or not to proceed with the case. This approach by the OCHTTF, and law enforcement in general, continues to prove successful in identifying victims of human trafficking who would otherwise have fallen through systemic gaps.
A critical component of the OCHTTF is the OCDA’s Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution, to bring justice for victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators responsible using Prop 35; Education, to provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources from public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity, to inform the public and send a message to human traffickers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.
Under the law, human trafficking is described as depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Pimping is described as knowingly deriving financial support in whole or in part from the proceeds of prostitution. Pandering is the act of persuading or procuring an individual to become a prostitute, or procuring and/or arranging for a person to work in a house of prostitution.
If you, or anyone you know has been a victim of human trafficking, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or contact your local law enforcement department.