FBI Announces Results of Nationwide Human Trafficking Operation
Officials of the Milwaukee office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), along with a host of partner agencies, announced today that 149 underage trafficking victims were recovered and 153 pimps were arrested in a nationwide human trafficking operation conducted throughout the United States last week. The initiative, dubbed Operation Cross Country IX, is a national effort spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with state and local law enforcement partners across the country. The initiative, now in its ninth year, targets the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.
The following agencies are responsible for the local success of Operation Cross Country IX: Milwaukee Police Department, West Allis Police Department, Fond Du Lac Police Department , Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Appleton Police Department, Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, Oak Creek Police Department, West Milwaukee Police Department, Village of Brown Deer Police Department, Menominee Falls Police Department, Germantown Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation. The Racine HT Task Force: Racine Police Department, Racine County Sheriff’s Office Mount Pleasant Police Department, and Kenosha Police Department; La Crosse area partners: Campbell Police Department, Holmen Police Department, La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department, La Crosse County Human Services, Onalaska Police Department, Town of Shelby Police Department, West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group, West Salem Police Department, and Wisconsin State Patrol; the Wisconsin FBI Human Trafficking Task Force; and the Milwaukee Child Exploitation Task Force.
The youngest victim in this year’s operation was 12 years old. Of the 149 victims recovered, three of those minors were transgender, and three were males. During the operation, 90 victim specialists provided on-scene direct services to the victims of sex trafficking while 105 child victims received on-site direct services which may have included crisis intervention and resources for basic needs like medical, food, clothing, and shelter. Due to the size of the operation, FBI victim specialists coordinated with local law enforcement victim advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who provided additional support to the victims.
In Wisconsin, FBI officials announced that nine underage victims were recovered and 11 pimps were arrested as part of the takedown. Wisconsin tied for third in the nation in total number of juveniles recovered (Denver—20; Detroit—19; Las Vegas—nine; Milwaukee—nine). The overall results of Operation Cross Country IX are as follows:
- Appleton—one adult, one trafficker
- Brown County—10 adults, three traffickers
- Fond du Lac—one adult, one juvenile, one trafficker
- La Crosse—two adults, one trafficker
- Milwaukee—11 adults, five juveniles, one trafficker
- Monroe—one juvenile
- Oak Creek—five adults
- Oshkosh—three adults, one trafficker
- Racine—20 adults, one trafficker
- West Allis—three adults, two juveniles, two traffickers
“Human trafficking is a monstrous and devastating crime that steals lives and degrades our nation,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “As a result of the FBI’s outstanding coordination and exemplary efforts alongside state and local partners during Operation Cross Country, more children will sleep safely tonight, and more wrongdoers will face the judgment of our criminal justice system. The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively and persistently fight this heinous crime, and to hold its perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Operation Cross Country IX is the largest in the nine-year history of the initiative, with 53 FBI field offices and 73 Child Exploitation Task Forces, which include federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, taking part in the operation in 135 cities across America, including (local market). Nationwide, more than 500 law enforcement officials, including investigators and officers from federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations, conducted both “in-call” and “out-call” operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, and in other areas known to be frequented by both prostitutes, sex traffickers, and their customers.
Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost national initiative, which began in 2003. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 children have been recovered from underage prostitution and prosecutors have obtained more than 2,000 convictions, including at least 15 that have resulted in life sentences. For additional information on Operation Cross Country IX, and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.
Related story and raw footage:
- Operation Cross Country: Recovering Victims of Child Sex Trafficking