Hundreds Were Arrested in This Major Child Sex Trafficking Sting

October 14th 2015

Laura Donovan

Nearly 150 sexually exploited minors were rescued and more than 150 arrests were made under Operation Cross Country, a recent national effort to identify underage victims of prostitution, according to an FBI release.

The FBI worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to carry out this sting, an annual event. The operation was conducted in 135 cities with more than 500 law enforcement officials exploring areas where pimps typically conduct business. The youngest child recovered in the sting was 12 years old.

“Our mission is to protect the American people—especially our children—from harm,” FBI Director James Comey said in a release.” When kids are treated as a commodity in seedy hotels and on dark roadsides, we must rescue them from their nightmare and severely punish those responsible for that horror. We simply must continue to work with our partners to end the scourge of sex trafficking in our country.”

"We are proud to partner with the FBI and provide support to both law enforcement and victim specialists in the field as they work to locate and recover survivors of child sex trafficking,” NCMEC’s acting chief executive officer, Linda Krieg added in the FBI release. “The number of children recovered and pimps arrested in this year’s operation highlights the importance of these efforts today and every day in protecting our children.”

As reported by Fox2Detroit, Detroit was second on the list for most children recovered in the sting. Nearly 20 children were rescued and a dozen suspects were arrested in Detroit. WXYZ Detroit reports that the Detroit operation was considered "one of the most successful" in the U.S.

"The Michigan State Police continue to support the efforts to combat human trafficking and rescue victims from the manipulation and constraints of suspects who take advantage of vulnerable children and adults in our community," Michigan State Police captain Monica Yesh said in a news release. "Our department is committed to working with our law enforcement partners enforcing human trafficking laws and arresting the suspects who facilitate these horrific acts."

According to the FBI release, roughly 100 victim specialists from the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance made themselves available to support rescued child victims. These specialists provided resources for food, shelter, and medical assistance as well as crisis intervention.

“From an investigative standpoint, Operation Cross Country targets the individuals and criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children,” one of the specialists said in the FBI release. “But our main goal is to provide support and services for these young victims—to help stabilize them and get them moving forward in a positive direction.”

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