(UnitedVoice.com) – Law enforcement agencies across the US often participate in operations with federal authorities to save trafficking victims. Agencies recently carried out one of those missions. While they busted criminals, they saved hundreds of victims, including dozens of missing children.
On August 1, the FBI announced the completion of its 13th iteration of “Operation Cross Country.” It involved almost every field office in the nation as well as their respective local and state partners. For two weeks, the agencies coordinated with one another and assisted human trafficking victims. They were particularly interested in finding children.
Throughout the operation, law enforcement officers identified traffickers, their criminal networks, and their victims. Experts were there to provide support to the victims right away and gain access to the resources available to them. Over 200 sex trafficking victims were rescued during “Operation Cross Country.” They also found 59 missing children and 59 victims of child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation were also recovered.
FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned trafficking as a “grave violation of human rights that preys on” society’s most vulnerable people. He went on to say the “atrocities will not be tolerated.”
Operation Cross Country is the result of a 2003 FBI initiative to find minors who’d suffered from sexual exploitation. Law enforcement at every level of the local, state, and federal governments work every day to root out traffickers and bring them to justice. The sweeps are just an added layer of enforcement.
Michelle DeLaune, the president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, applauded the law enforcement agencies that carried out the operation “for their unwavering dedication to protecting children.” She pointed out that every statistic represents a “person with dreams, aspirations, and the right to live” their lives free of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the criminals who carry out these crimes “exploit and endanger” the most vulnerable people in society and cause them “unimaginable harm.” He said the Department of Justice is continuing to work with its partners to “prevent human trafficking; increase detection, investigation, and prosecution” of those types of crimes. They are also working to expand services for the survivors.
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