The FBI announced Wednesday that authorities rescued 84 children and arrested 120 suspected traffickers as part of a national anti-human trafficking initiative.
As a part of Operation Cross Country XI, the FBI and 78 state and local task forces conducted undercover stings from October 12 to 15. The agency noted that organizations in multiple countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines also assisted in the initiative.
FBI and task force agents reportedly staged operations by staking out hotels, casinos, truck stops, street corners, and Internet websites.
The average age of victims was 15—with the youngest rescued child being 3-months-old, according to the FBI. KMGH reported that Denver police rescued the infant girl and her 5-year-old sister after a family friend tried to sell them for sex to an undercover officer for $600.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work.”
The release explained that state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division offer assistance to the rescued children. Depending on their condition, they are offered a wide range of services, including mental health counseling.
The announcement comes a day after police in Polk County, Florida, said they arrested 277 human trafficking and online prostitution suspects. As part of Operation No Tricks, No Treats, officers posted fake online ads where they posed as prostitutes. Deputies said that they arrested 51 people who advertised themselves online as prostitutes and 209 who solicited undercover detectives, according to WPEC.
Investigators also said they located and saved five possible human trafficking victims during the operation, which took place October 10-16.
“We are committed to fighting human trafficking, by arresting those who engage in prostitution and trying to identify human trafficking victims,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
“It’s no secret…you need to stay out of Polk County if you’re going to commit [a] crime.”
[Featured Image: Pixabay]