The FBI announced 200 victims of sex trafficking have been discovered, and 126 suspects have been identified.
In a report released on Tuesday, the FBI said, with the help of agents and “state and local partners” in Operation Cross Country, “significant milestones” had been reached in the recovery of victims and the apprehension of suspects. During a two-week mission in July, the agency located 59 minors who were victims of child sex trafficking and child sex exploitation, along with 59 actively missing children.
“Sex traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the press release.
Through Operation Cross Country, the #FBI and partners achieved significant milestones in recovering victims, apprehending offenders, and raising public awareness about sex trafficking during a nationwide campaign. Learn more: https://t.co/5pRZOR3SAP pic.twitter.com/PB63awRvEj
— FBI (@FBI) August 1, 2023
Garland continued to highlight how the operation had “located 58 actively missing children” while building upon the work the FBI has been doing over the course of recent years.
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across the country to prevent human trafficking; increase detection, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking crimes; and expand support and services to protect and empower survivors,” Garland added.
Through an FBI-led operation conducted in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), 126 people suspected of child sexual exploitation were located. Additionally, 68 people suspected of human trafficking were identified or arrested, according to the report.
The initiative “focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex and human trafficking,” the press release said. Various law enforcement agencies carried out “targeted operations to identify and apprehend offenders” in an effort to dismantle “criminal networks” and to prevent any future “harm to victims.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray commented on how the operation would not have been possible “without the commitment and collaboration” between state and local enforcement agencies.
“It demonstrates our continued focus on actively pursuing the criminals responsible for these heinous violations and connected those impacted with dedicated victim services and resources,” Wray said in the press release.
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