FBI Campaign Recovers 168 Exploited Children
Operation Cross Country
The FBI says its nationwide campaign that targeted common prostitution locations has resulted in the recovery of 168 children and arrests of 281 pimps. The efforts, coordinated between 54 FBI field divisions and the National Center for Missing & Exploited children, spanned 106 cities. The campaign focused on prostitution hot spots, including truck stops, dating and escort service websites, and metropolitan areas populated with strip clubs and pornography stores.
This is the eighth time the FBI has launched what it calls Operation Cross Country. In the past seven years, the operation has recovered a total of 3,400 exploited children, netted 1,450 convictions and 14 life sentences, and seized about $3.1 million in assets.
The FBI says initial arrests help agents uncover organized efforts to traffic women and children.
Operation Cross Country is part of the Lost National Initiative established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. The Operation is run in partnership with the Justice Department and national center.
About Human Trafficking
An FBI Bulletin about Human Trafficking estimates that millions of victims worldwide are victims of human trafficking and notes that these abuses can take place in any town, big or small, in the U.S. In comparison to prostitution, trafficking involves an element of force or coercion the FBI describes as modern-day slavery.
The bulletin notes that sex trafficking is “the fastest growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.” In the U.S. alone, an estimated 293,000 children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The FBI describes those most at risk are children who have been abused or abandoned and those living on the street.