Former Trafficking Victim Describes Her Ordeal and Rescue
More than 80 children — including a 3-month-old girl — were rescued during a nationwide sex-trafficking sting, federal officials announced Wednesday.
The effort, dubbed Operation Cross Country XI, led to the recovery of 84 minors and the arrest of 120 sex traffickers, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The sting, which focused on recovering underage victims of prostitution, ran for four days , from Oct. 12 to 15.
Undercover agents staged operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, street corners and online websites. The youngest victim was 3 months old, and the average age of victims was 15.
“On October 13, FBI Denver recovered two minor girls—one 3-month-old and one 5-year-old. The subject, a friend of the children’s family, offered an undercover officer access to the two children for sexual purposes in exchange for $600. The FBI is working with Child Protective Services to conduct a forensic interview and secure safe placement of the children. The subject was placed under arrest,” officials said in a press release.
Operation Cross Country XI is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 children. This year, the effort involved 78 state and local task forces, as well as international partners like Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Victims are offered medical and mental health counseling, as well as a number of other services.
One of the victims rescued included a 16-year-old girl in Texas.
“Also on October 13, a 16-year old female victim was recovered by FBI El Paso after an undercover agent called an online advertisement for entertainment. Shortly thereafter, the agent met with a 21-year-old female, who offered a fee of $200 to engage in sexual intercourse with her and another female, the 16-year-old victim,” officials noted in a press release. “Further investigations revealed that a second adult female drove the minor and the 21-year-old to the undercover agent’s location. Both female subjects have been arrested on federal charges.”