FBI Announces Results of Nationwide Human Trafficking Operation
One Minor Recovered, Nine Pimps Arrested in North Texas
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with representatives from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and several international law enforcement partners, announced Monday that, domestically, 82 minors were rescued, and 239 traffickers and their associates were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country X, an international effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 13 to 16, 2016. FBI Director James Comey and NCMEC Director John Clark announced the results of Operation Cross Country X at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention in San Diego.
This is the 10th iteration of the FBI-led initiative, which took place across the United States and, for the first time, also in several countries around the world. Law enforcement partners from Cambodia, Canada, the Philippines, and Thailand had operations in their respective countries. In Canada, as part of a corresponding effort called Northern Spotlight, authorities recovered 16 children, while in Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines, authorities recovered 25 children, including a 2-year-old girl.
“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” said FBI Director Comey. “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”
Operations took place in a number of locations nationwide, including hotels, truck stops, and street corners. Minors recovered during an arrest are engaged by state protective services and victim assistance. Depending on the level of need, a law enforcement officer and, if available, an FBI victim specialist accompany the survivor to obtain these services.
Across the Dallas FBI territory, one minor was rescued and nine pimps were arrested on local charges as part of the nationwide effort. To address child sex trafficking locally, the FBI partnered with personnel from the Dallas Police Department, Irving Police Department, Sherman Police Department, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Worth Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Frisco Police Department, McKinney Police Department, Lubbock Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Homeland Security Investigations.
Operation Cross Country X is the largest ever in the history of the initiative, with 55 FBI field offices and 74 Child Exploitation Task Forces representing more than 400 law enforcement organizations taking part in the operation. In addition, several dozen operations across Canada, and approximately 10 operations took place in six cities across Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Operation Cross Country X is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,000 child identifications and locations.