41 arrested in Tennessee human trafficking sting

41 Arrested in Tennessee Human Trafficking Sting

A three-day human trafficking sting in Tennessee has led to 41 arrests, and officials say they're still only scratching the surface of the problem.

"Every time we run one of these operations, we learn more about human trafficking in the state of Tennessee," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn told reporters.

SEE MORE: Here's A Really Simple Way You Can Help Catch Sex Traffickers

Operation Someone Like Me, carried out by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other agencies, involved officers posting fake advertisements on Backpage.com. The agency says 485 men responded to those ads; over half of those men attempted to buy sex with a minor.

A science teacher at Hunters Lane High School and a former Vanderbilt University football player were among those arrested in the sting. Officials at the high school say the teacher is on administrative leave, and Vanderbilt University released a statement saying it will fully cooperate with authorities if asked.

This is the sixth such sting operation conducted by the bureau — the agency was tasked with stopping human trafficking in a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last year.

SEE MORE: FBI Child Trafficking Sting Catches 150 Alleged Pimps

But Gwyn told the press these arrests won't end Tennessee's human trafficking problem.

"This is all demand-driven," he said. "These men paying for sex with children in our state are only continuing to victimize girls and women. It's wrong, it's illegal and we will pursue these operations in small towns and big cities for as long as it takes."

RELATED: Human trafficking seen around the world

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Human trafficking issues around the world
SHAMLAPUR, BANGLADESH - JULY 4: A photograph of Rohingya trafficking victim Mohammad Aiaz is seen July 4, 2015 in Shamlapur, Bangladesh. On March 5, 2015 Aiaz met a man who promised to take him to a good job in Malaysia for free. He left Bangladesh with 13 other Rohingya. A few days after that his mother, Lila Begum, got a phone call from her son saying he was on the ship and that she needed to pay a man in Teknaf 200,000 taka ($2,570) or he would be killed. She managed to pay 175,000 but she has not heard from her son since. In the past months thousands of Rohingya have landed on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, many of them by way of Bangladesh. The Rohingya pay up to $2,000 to traffickers, and they sail out from Bangladesh's southern coastline on fishing boats to meet larger ships in the deep sea that will take them to Malaysia. UNHCR estimates that there are more than 300,000 Rohingya living in Bangladesh. (Photo by Shazia Rahman/Getty Images)
An armed Malaysian policeman checks a driver's documentations a day after the government announced the discovery of camps and graves, the first such sites found in Malaysia since a regional human-trafficking crisis erupted earlier this month, near Malaysia-Thailand borders in Wang Kelian on May 25, 2015. A total of 139 grave sites and 28 human-trafficking camps have been found in a remote northern Malaysian border region, the country's top police official told reporters. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist takes photo of 24 alleged human traffickers' pictures displayed on a board, released by Italian police during a press conference in Palermo on April 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO (Photo credit should read MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)
Sex workers and sympathizers demonstrate on April 9, 2015 against the closure of window brothels by the municipality in the red light district in Amsterdam. With Project 1012, the Amsterdam wants to close window prostitution to prevent crime, human trafficking and degradation. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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