Operation Cross Country 2022
Operation Cross Country 2022 is a joint FBI operation with local agencies to help identify and rescue child human trafficking victims.
I would say that Operation Cross Country—it's just a national push throughout the FBI to put resources and time and energy and to build partnerships around addressing trafficking and exploitation, particularly of children. I mean, first and foremost, we're most focused on the victims in these cases. It's important that we prosecute and investigate, but making sure that they are receiving the services that they need and that they're getting the help that they need just to better their future. I think to build trust with victims of exploitation, you have to first and foremost, just be honest with them. We are here as a law enforcement agency to investigate a crime, but we understand they may not see themselves as victims.
Obviously, we want to get the information and we want to get the evidence that we need for prosecution and then for the investigation. But our teams are always so focused on making sure that the victim is safe, the victim is taken care of, and that those victims are receiving the services that they need and then continuing the investigation.
Partnerships are critical to the work that I do as a victim specialist. I can't do a whole lot by myself. It really is a team effort. It takes a village to help victims get on a better track.
So for us, the FBI is helping us with investigative resources and also with resources to help these individuals. So it's a great force multiplier for us. We do a lot of the legwork, obviously. Our investigators do the actual field work. We do the takedowns, you know, we secure the scene, all that kind of stuff. But the real work that happens in those interview rooms, this is really where you get down to the nitty gritty and you can identify two victims.
We work in close daily contact with a victim specialist, and we also have certified forensic interviewers. We have a good partnership with our Children's Advocacy Center.
The idea of these interviews is that we only do it once. We don't want to reinterview a child, both because we don't want to re-traumatize them. And it just shows the child that they have a team, that they have agents and their own interviewer or they have a victim specialist all showing up at once for them to support them, get them through that experience, and then then my job afterwards to continue with that support.
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