FBI Child Exploitation Task Force and Local Partners Recover Minor Victim in Sex Trafficking Sting
A 4-Year-Old Child Removed from Home in Unrelated Case
|FBI Portland June 23, 2014|
The FBI, local law enforcement partners, and victim service agencies from throughout the region joined forces to launch multi-day undercover operations targeting child sex trafficking operations in the Portland metro and Eugene areas. These operations, which ran June 18 to June 22, resulted in the recovery of one minor child and the identification of 20 adult prostitutes. Many of the adults had been trafficked since they were 13 or 14 years old. The Oregon FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) conducted these stings in conjunction with a national weeklong event, Operation Cross Country VIII, which included enforcement actions in 54 FBI field offices and 106 cities across the United States.
Law enforcement and social service providers worked with each victim to provide counseling, mental health services, medical assistance, housing, and advocacy resources to them. Due to the sensitive nature of these cases, there will be no further details released about the minor child sex trafficking victim.
As part of Operation Cross Country VIII, local police arrested three traffickers on state charges. Those arrested include:
- Joseph McKenzie, age 41 , charged with promoting prostitution (arrested by Portland Police Bureau)
- Courtney L. Milan , age 23, charged with promoting prostitution (arrested by Beaverton Police Department)
- Alexandra R. Roberts, age 22, charged with promoting prostitution (arrested by Eugene Police Department)
In addition to the minor victim, local police cited 20 adult women on prostitution charges. Victim specialists offered all of these women the opportunity to access help through law enforcement victim service programs and the social service partners.
“Sex traffickers are selling kids—our kids—every day in motels, on the street and in our neighborhoods for sex. Over time, the children age into adulthood—but the impact of this victimization continues for each of them, their families, and the community as a whole,” said Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force brings together our agents, local law enforcement, and passionate community advocates. They are doing great work—not just during Operation Cross Country stings, but every day, pulling children out of horrendously violent and abusive situations. They cannot do their jobs, though, without the help of concerned parents, teachers, and community members.”
If you suspect that a child is being sexually exploited, please call your nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency immediately.
In the course of—but unrelated to—the undercover stings, officers and agents came into contact with a four-year-old child living with a non-custodial parent. That child was placed in state custody, and local police arrested the parent on outstanding warrants.
- This is the eighth Operation Cross Country event that the FBI has coordinated since 2008.
- In seven previous Operation Cross Country events, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies joined together to recover 434 child victims and arrest 581 pimps nationwide.
- In Oregon, the FBI participated in Operations III to VII, leading to the recovery of a total of 20 local minor victims during those specific operations.
- Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, established in 2003 by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Since 2003, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered a total of more than 3,500 children throughout the U.S.
- Since 2003, the task force investigations have led to total of 1,450 convictions and resulted in many lengthy sentences, including 14 life terms.
- More information on recent Oregon cases and convictions can be found here.
Locally, the FBI would like to thank the full-time members of the Child Exploitation Task Force as well as the other agencies and departments who took part in the law enforcement portion of the Operation Cross Country VIII sting:
FBI Child Exploitation Task Force Members:
- Portland Police Bureau
- Beaverton Police Department
- Tigard Police Department
- Vancouver Police Department
Other participating agencies:
- Eugene Police Department
- Hillsboro Police Department
- Troutdale Police Department
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
- Metro Gang Task Force (MGTF)
- Interagency Gang Enforcement Team (IGET)
- Prostitution Enforcement Team
- Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
- Washington County District Attorney’s Office
- Lane County District Attorney’s Office
- United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon
Task force operations such as this one usually begin with the development of information that a pimp is trafficking a minor. That information can come from parents, concerned citizens, local law enforcement or other sources. In many cases, the trafficker is posting photos or other details about the minor on websites that cater to men wanting to schedule meets. (We will not release the specific locations or methods utilized in this local operation due to ongoing investigative interests.)
These cases are jointly investigated by FBI agents and local law enforcement. As the case progresses, the investigators and prosecutors work together to determine whether state or federal charges are most appropriate.
The charges filed in this operation are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Social service and non-profit agencies who provided assistance during Operation Cross Country VIII locally include:
- LifeWorks NW
- Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
- Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Beaverton Police Department Victim Services
- Multnomah County Department of Human Service/Child Protective Services
- Multnomah County Department of Community Justice
- Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Victim Services
- Washington County Department of Human Services/Child Protective Services
- Washington County Juvenile Department
- Lane County Department of Youth Services
- Lane County District Attorney’s Office of Victim Services
- Lane County Department of Human Services/Child Protective Services
- United States Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Program
The FBI would like to thank all law enforcement and social service provider agencies for taking part in Operation Cross Country VIII and for their ongoing work with the Child Exploitation Task Force.
For more information on the law enforcement and social service provider partnerships providing assistance to these victims, please visit:
- Protecting Our Children: Child Exploitation Task Force Making an Impact
- Multnomah County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
- Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) of Oregon
- Janus Youth Program
- Lifeworks NW
Additional information about Operation Cross Country VIII: