84 children saved, 120 suspects arrested as part of nationwide FBI sex trafficking sting

Sex trafficking is all about supply and demand, and the billion-dollar industry is targeting our children.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9/WXIA) - A nationwide sex trafficking crackdown resulted in dozens of arrests and three children rescued in Atlanta, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on Wednesday.

"Operation Cross Country XI", which involved 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local forces, ran from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15. The FBI said nationwide, 120 alleged traffickers were arrested and 84 minors were recovered.

One child was recovered in the D.C. area. No one was arrested locally.

As part of the crackdown, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops as well as street corners and internet websites. 

LEARN MORE: Selling Girls | Sex traffickers targeting American children

The youngest victim was just 3 months old. The average age of those recovered was 15, according to the FBI.

“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work.”

PHOTOS: Operation Cross Country XI arrests

Those recovered are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI's Victim Services Division. They're offered medical and mental health counseling service. 

Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003. Since its creation, the program has resulted in the identification and recovery of more than 6,500 children from child sex trafficking and the prosecution of countless traffickers, more than 30 of whom have received life sentences for their crimes.

Last year, the same operation led to the recovery of 82 sexually exploited children and the arrests of 239 people.

© 2018 WXIA-TV


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