The FBI, along with several state agencies, rescued 84 minors who were victims of sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation during a national campaign called Operation Cross Country. Thirty-seven missing children have also been located, the Justice Department announced on Monday.
Agents and investigators identified and arrested 85 suspects, who are subject to investigation for possible child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses. The FBI and the other agencies involved in the operation also found 141 adult victims of human trafficking.
"One of the most heinous crimes"
"Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Unfortunately, such crimes, against both adults and children, are far more common than most people realize. As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and assist victims, and raise awareness about the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations."
"The success of Operation Cross County reinforces what the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC ) sees every day. Children are being bought and sold for sex in communities across the country by traffickers, gangs and even family members," said Michelle DeLaune, president and CEO of NCMEC.
The Department of Justice explained on its website that victim assistance specialists provide services based on the individual needs of victims. These services include crisis intervention, emergency food and clothing, transportation to receive emergency services, and locating shelter or housing.