FBI Charlotte
Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch
October 18, 2017

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Combat Commercial Child Sex Trafficking

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) announced today that, 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15, 2017.

This is the 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country, which took place in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces consisting of hundreds of law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, and victim assistance specialists. Thirteen law enforcement agencies in North Carolina conducted operations in Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Lumberton. As a result of the statewide operation, 11 people were arrested and three minor victims were recovered or were offered assistance from the FBI’s Victim Services Division, U.S. Attorney’s Victim Assistance, and other non-governmental organizations.

“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This operation isn't just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”

As part of Operation Cross Country XI, federal and local law enforcement personnel staged operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, on Internet websites, and street corners. The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, while the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old.

Operation Cross Country XI is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations. For additional information on Operation Cross Country XI and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.

The following law enforcement agencies participated in Operation Cross County operations in North Carolina: the FBI, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia Police Department, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Raleigh Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Lumberton Police Department, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and United States Marshals Service.