The FBI has rescued more than 200 victims, many of them children, from sex trafficking in a nationwide effort known as “Operation Cross Country.” According to CBN News, the operation took two weeks and 59 victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation were found along with 59 missing children. The operation also brought about the arrest of at least 126 suspects who were believed to be facilitating child sexual exploitation and 68 suspected human traffickers.
The operation was done in collaboration with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Officials reported that the youngest victim found was 11 years old with the average age of victims found being 15 years old. This operation is just one of many of the FBI’s efforts that are ongoing to save children from this exploitation at the hands of ruthless criminals and criminal gangs.
The urgency to find missing and exploited children is growing more serious each day as tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors are unaccounted for inside the United States. CBN News reports that “one study estimated that 60% of unaccompanied migrating children are caught by cartels and exploited through child pornography and drug trafficking.”
NCMEC President & CEO Michelle DeLaune shared firmly that “Behind every statistic, there is a person with dreams, aspirations, and the right to live a life free from child sex trafficking and exploitation. As a society we must work together to ensure the protection, support, and empowerment of those impacted by this heinous crime,” adding, “We applaud the FBI and their partner law enforcement agencies for their unwavering dedication to protecting children. Their tireless efforts in combating crimes against children send a powerful message that child sexual exploitation will not be tolerated.”