According to an FBI statement, 84 children have been rescued in multiple successful sting operations that also resulted in the arrest of 120 human traffickers on Wednesday. The stings, codenamed Operation Cross Country XI, had one solitary goal as the FBI’s focus — To take out the so-called ‘pimps’ who are running the human trafficking rings.
The operation was a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, a mission that started in 2003 and has thus far located and identified 6,500 children, but Operation Cross Country XI takes things a step further. “This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
According to the FBI’s statement, they had “put an additional operational focus on pimps, particularly those involved in the human trafficking of minors. Pimps who force or coerce adults to engage in prostitution are also committing acts of human trafficking.” The statement also added that the pimps really don’t value the lives of the children they are trafficking, some of whom are unbelievably young.
“During operations by FBI Denver’s Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force, for example, a three-month-old girl and her five-year-old sister were recovered after a friend who was staying with the family made a deal with an undercover task force officer to sell both children for sex in exchange for $600,” the statement said.
Operation Cross Country XI consisted of numerous stings undertaken Thursday through Sunday, involving 55 FBI field officers, 78 Child Exploitation Task Forces and over 500 other law enforcement agencies in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) across multiple states.
“Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America, and at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we’re working to combat this problem every day,” said NCMEC President and CEO John Clark. “We’re proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation’s children.”