For the past two weeks of August the FBI was conducting a nationwide sex trafficking operation, identifying or locating a total of 87 minors of child sex trafficking, 141 adults of human trafficking, and finding 37 missing children.
The operation, called Operation Cross Country, was aimed to identify and locate victims of sex trafficking as well as capturing the criminals responsible. The FBI identified or arrested 85 suspects.
“The Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to combat the insidious crimes of human trafficking that devastate survivors and their families,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a press release. “I am grateful to the dedicated professionals of the FBI and our law enforcement partners across the country for their tireless work to rescue trafficking survivors, including exploited children, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of trafficking crimes, and to provide the services and support that survivors need and deserve.”
Locally, the FBI’s Indianapolis division – together with IMPD and US Marshals – found nine of those victims, also catching three sex offenders on their operation on Friday the 12th.
“Human trafficking is among the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in the same release. “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 help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation our most vulnerable populations.”
Throughout the nation, the FBI worked alongside 200 state, local, and federal partners to conduct 391 in Operation Cross Country.
The average age of similar operations to this is 15 and a half years old. The youngest victim Operation Cross Country found was 11 years old.