This morning the FBI announced that they successfully implemented Operation Cross Country, which focused on saving children and teens from prostitution rings. Operation Cross Country was the largest rescue to date. From the FBI’s press release:
Operation Cross Country—a three-day nationwide enforcement action focusing on underage victims of prostitution—has concluded with the recovery of 105 sexually exploited children and the arrests of 150 pimps and other individuals.
The sweep took place in 76 cities and was carried out by the FBI in partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as part of the Bureau’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. It is the seventh and largest such enforcement action to date.
Child sex trafficking rings are not some faraway phenomenon — it is happening right here in the United States. Operation Cross Country took place in 76 cities with 150 arrests. These schemes are ubiquitous and, in this case, can be very large. Over 100 children and teenagers were rescued from years of sexual exploitation this time. But who knows how many other children are out there being forced into prostitution.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
A sober reminder indeed.