FBI Little Rock
Public Affairs Officer Jessica Franklin
August 2, 2023

FBI Little Rock Partners with Arkansas Law Enforcement Agencies in Nationwide Sex Trafficking Operation

LITTLE ROCK, AR— The FBI, working with its state and local partners, identified and located 200 victims of sex trafficking during a nationwide enforcement campaign, called "Operation Cross Country." The operation also led to the identification or arrest of 126 suspects of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses and 68 suspects of trafficking were identified or arrested.

Through targeted operations and collaborative efforts, Operation Cross Country achieved significant milestones in recovering victims, apprehending offenders, and raising public awareness about these heinous crimes. The FBI and its partners located 59 minor victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses and located 59 actively missing children during its two-week operation in July.

The FBI-led nationwide initiative, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex and human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies conducted targeted operations to identify and apprehend offenders, dismantling criminal networks and preventing further harm to victims. Those suspects identified will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges.

“Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable members of our society, and their crimes scar victims—many of them children—for life. The FBI’s commitment to combating this threat will never waver, and we will continue to send our message that these atrocities will not be tolerated,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This operation would not be possible without the commitment and collaboration from our state and local law enforcement partners, and it demonstrates our continued focus on actively pursuing the criminals responsible for these heinous violations and connecting those impacted with dedicated victim services and resources.

FBI Little Rock agents partnered with Arkansas victim advocacy organizations and law enforcement partners from Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Bentonville Police Department, El Dorado Police Department, Greenland School District Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, Lowell Police Department, Mountain Home Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Pea Ridge Police Department, Rogers Police Department, Siloam Springs Police Department, and the Tontitown Police Department. Over the course of the two-week operation, this team identified and recovered three victims, arrested one individual for attempting to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and arrested another individual in connection with the recovery of a minor.

“Combating child exploitation and human trafficking in Arkansas will continue to be a top priority for FBI Little Rock and our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson. “The success of Operation Cross Country showcases our commitment to partnering with state and local police agencies to keep Arkansas communities safe.”

The FBI remains steadfast in its commitment to combating child exploitation and human trafficking. Operation Cross Country is just one facet of the Bureau’s ongoing efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of society and hold offenders accountable. The FBI encourages continued vigilance, cooperation, and reporting from the public to help identify and recover victims and bring perpetrators to justice.