FBI arrests 120 suspects, recovers 84 minors in cross country human trafficking sting

FBI arrests 120 suspects, recovers 84 minors in cross country human trafficking sting

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - The FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children announced that 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers arrested across the U.S. as part of Operation Cross Country XI.

According to an FBI press release, the operation ran from October 12-15 in a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking.

The FBI Jackson Division's Child Exploitation Task Force and its partners arrested two traffickers and 20 individuals associated with prostitution in Mississippi, according to the FBI. The goal of the operation is to recover underage human trafficking victims, and all suspects arrested will be tried in local jurisdictions where they were arrested.

This is 11th time the FBI has led this cross country investigation, with 55 FBI field offices and 78 state and local task forces participating in this operation.

"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. "This operation isn't just about taking traffickers off the street. It's about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse."

The youngest victim recovered in the operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims was 15-years-old. Minor victims recovered are provided with state protective services and the FBI's Victim Service Division, as well as medical and mental health services.

"Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America, and at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we're working to combat this problem every day," said NCMEC President and CEO John Clark. "We're proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation's children."