FBI Dallas
Public Affairs Officer Melinda Urbina
(972) 559-5629
August 7, 2019

FBI Dallas Participation in Operation Independence Day

DALLAS, TX—The FBI’s Dallas field office recently took part in Operation Independence Day, a month-long initiative that targeted sex traffickers and focused on the recovery of child victims. The FBI-led operation conducted during the month of July, included more than 400 law enforcement agencies. Operation Independence Day resulted in dozens of arrests across the country and the identification and recovery of more than 100 juveniles.

FBI Dallas partnered with numerous law enforcement agencies to conduct enforcement operations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area in furtherance of Operation Independence Day. Several agencies achieved child sex trafficking recoveries, including the Dallas Police Department, the Fort Worth Police Department, and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The Dallas Police Department’s High Risk Victims and Trafficking Squad who were supported by both the Vice and Narcotics Units, worked tirelessly during the operation to realize the majority of the area recoveries. This collaborative, multi-agency effort ultimately led to the recovery of nine child victims and the identification of an additional four child victims across the DFW Metroplex. Also of note, two child labor trafficking victims were identified and recovered. Overall, 11 arrests were recorded across the participating agencies. Statistically, the DFW area recorded the second highest number of child trafficking victims encountered in the United States during Operation Independence Day.

“One of the FBI’s most important roles is to fight human trafficking,” said Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI Dallas Field Office. “Operation Independence Day demonstrates our commitment to recovering children and pursuing the traffickers who are exploiting them for financial gain.”

FBI Dallas would like to thank all of our partners from both law enforcement and non-governmental organizations that provided invaluable assistance during Operation Independence Day. These partners included 4theONE, Addison Police Department, Amarillo Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, CASA Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Juvenile Probation Department, DISD Police, Grand Prairie Police Department, Irving Police Department, Plano Police Department, Richardson Police Department, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Department of Public Safety, Traffick911, Salvation Army, The Hotel Association, and Unbound.

“Recovery” is the removal of the child from ongoing, continued victimization. An individual “identified” as a victim of sex trafficking is one who may not currently be in a sex trafficking situation, but one who has been victimized in the past or whose prior victimization is unknown, or someone who is being trafficked, but is afraid to disclose that information to law enforcement. The FBI works with our victim specialists and with our partners to ensure all child victims are placed in a safe environment and their immediate and long-term needs are addressed.