Operation Cross Country VIII Recovers Four Juveniles Being Victimized Through Prostitution in Washington State
|FBI Seattle June 23, 2014|
This week, two Child Exploitation Task Forces (CETFs) in Washington state recovered four juveniles and 56 adults being victimized through prostitution. Some of the adult victims had been forced into engaging in prostitution since they were juveniles. The week-long local operations were part of Operation Cross Country VIII (OCC8), a coordinated national enforcement action that is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative.
In Washington state, the CETFs recovered four child victims and arrested 13 subjects suspected of commercially exploiting children and/or adults and related crimes. The CETFs interviewed seven other subjects suspected of involvement in this criminal activity. The CETFs also identified and/or interviewed 56 adults engaged in prostitution, which provided significant leads toward identifying other juveniles that are being victimized through prostitution. The CETFs recovered large sums of cash and a gun during the operations.
Operations took place June 16-19, 2014, in Everett, Kent, Lacey, Lakewood, Tacoma, Tukwila, Olympia, and Seattle. Victims and the pimps travel throughout western Washington to work and do not necessarily reside in the area where they were located this week. The Lakewood operation continued in to Portland, Oregon, where some of the subjects were arrested.
The multi-agency CETFs, working with additional partnering agencies, made contact with young women involved in prostitution through the use of undercover agents and detectives and by canvassing areas where street prostitution is known to occur.
All the victims were offered a variety of services within the community, such as job training, housing, counseling, and medical and education assistance.
The FBI Seattle Division works with law enforcement partners on two dedicated Child CETFs in Washington state, based in Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma.
- The North-Central Sound CETF is a partnership between the FBI, the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, KCSO contracted to SeaTac Police Department, and the Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Mt. Vernon, Port of Seattle, Renton, and Seattle Police Departments.
- The South Sound CETF in Tacoma is a partnership between the FBI, the Lakewood and Tacoma Police Departments, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
OCC8 relied on extraordinary support by the Everett, Lacey, Olympia, Tacoma, and Tukwila Police Departments, which hosted command posts and provided significant resources. Additional partners who supported OCC8 were the FBI Portland Division, the FBI Couer de’Alene Resident Agency of the Salt Lake City Division, the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the WSP’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force, the Snohomish County Regional Drug & Gang Task Force, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Protective Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Washington Department of Corrections, and the Bellingham, Marysville, Renton, and Tukwila Police Departments. Other government partners invaluable in the success of OCC8 in Washington were the U.S. Attorney’s Office-Western District of Washington, the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office, the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office, King County Juvenile Court Services, the Pierce County Juvenile Justice and Detention Center, the Washington State Department of Social, and Health Services-King South Division of Children and Family Services Office.
CETFs provide a rapid and effective investigative response to reported federal crimes involving the victimization of children. The task forces strive to reduce the vulnerability of children to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse and strengthen the capabilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement through training programs and investigative assistance.