Alabama Juvenile Recovered During Operation Cross Country VIII
Over the past week in Birmingham and Huntsville, the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) recovered a 17-year-old Alabama juvenile and other young adults being victimized through prostitution during Operation Cross Country VIII (OCC8), which concluded Sunday, announced FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Richard D. Schwein Jr.
OCC8 is a national enforcement action that took place in 106 cities representing 68 CETF’s across America and is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, an ongoing national initiative targeting the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.
In North Alabama, the FBI and its law enforcement partners recovered (removed from victimization) one juvenile victim, arrested three suspected pimps, and identified four other pimps. The CETF also identified 14 adults engaged in prostitution, ranging in age from 19 to 34. Some of the adult victims had been forced into engaging in prostitution since they were juveniles. In Birmingham, a 6-week-old baby was also rescued during the operation.
The multi-agency CETFs, working with additional partnering agencies, made contact with young women involved in prostitution through the use of undercover agents and detectives.
All the women and girls were offered a variety of services within the community, such as housing, counseling, and medical assistance, and each were provided with bags containing necessary personal items through the FBI’s Victim Witness Assistance Program.
“Sex trafficking of children is one of the most violent and unconscionable crimes committed in this country,” said SAC Schwein. “There are few law enforcement missions more important than protecting our nation’s children.”
CETFs provide a rapid and effective investigative response to reported federal crimes involving the victimization of children. The task force strives to reduce the vulnerability of children to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse and strengthens the capabilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement through training programs and investigative assistance.
Anyone with information regarding possible sex trafficking activity should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Participating agencies included the Birmingham Police Department; Huntsville Police Department; Vestavia Hills Police Department; Madison Police Department; Pelham Police Department; Madison County Sheriff’s Office; Moody Police Department; Shelby County Sheriff’s Office; Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI); and Hoover Police Department.