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168 Juveniles Recovered in Nationwide Operation Targeting Commercial Child Sex Trafficking

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WASHINGTON DC (KYTX)- During the past week, the FBI; its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VIII, a week-long enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. 

This operation included enforcement actions in 106 cities across 54 FBI field divisions nationwide and resulted in 168 recoveries of children who were being victimized through prostitution. 

Additionally, 281 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

“Targeting and harming America’s children through commercial sex trafficking is a heinous crime, with serious consequences,” said FBI Director James B. Comey. “Every child deserves to be safe and sound. Through targeted measures like Operation Cross Country, we can end the cycle of victimization.”

“Child sex traffickers create a living nightmare for their adolescent victims,” said Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. “They use fear and force and treat children as commodities of sex to be sold again and again. This operation puts traffickers behind bars and rescues kids from their nightmare so they can start reclaiming their childhood.”

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

“Operation Cross Country reveals that children are being targeted and sold for sex in America every day,” said John Ryan, President and CEO of NCMEC. “We’re proud to partner with the FBI and provide support to both law enforcement and victim specialists in the field as they help survivors take that first step toward freedom.”

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered nearly 3,600 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 14 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.

The Innocence Lost National Initiative partners with NCMEC to provide training for state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country.

The FBI thanks its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners representing 392 separate agencies for their ongoing enforcement efforts and participation in Operation Cross Country VIII.

The following list denotes FBI divisions, not necessarily actual cities, where juveniles were recovered and pimps were arrested.



FBI DivisionJuveniles 
Recovered
Pimps
Arrested
Albany00
Albuquerque00
Anchorage03
Atlanta1115
Baltimore25
Birmingham13
Boston00
Buffalo20
Charlotte03
Chicago134
Cincinnati01
Cleveland1612
Columbia12
Dallas22
Denver1811
Detroit56
El Paso01
Houston44
Indianapolis43
Jackson219
Jacksonville01
Kansas City27
Knoxville01
Las Vegas72
Little Rock25
Los Angeles1012
Louisville04
Memphis25
Miami34
Milwaukee612
Minneapolis19
Mobile00
Newark18
New Haven11
New Orleans317
New York33
Norfolk01
Oklahoma City214
Omaha12
Philadelphia02
Phoenix521
Pittsburgh03
Portland12
Richmond02
Sacramento97
Salt Lake City00
San Antonio63
San Diego26
San Francisco613
Seattle413
Springfield21
St. Louis01
Tampa83
Washington02
Total168281
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