Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States frequently collaborate with federal authorities in joint efforts to rescue victims of trafficking. Recently, they successfully conducted such an operation, leading to the apprehension of criminals and the rescue of numerous victims, among whom were dozens of missing children.
The FBI declared the conclusion of the 13th edition of “Operation Cross Country” on August 1. This nationwide operation engaged nearly every field office in collaboration with their local and state counterparts. Over the course of two weeks, these agencies worked together to provide aid to victims of human trafficking, with a specific focus on locating and rescuing children.
During the operation, law enforcement personnel successfully identified traffickers, their criminal networks, and the victims involved. Immediate support and resources were provided to the victims with the assistance of experts. Notably, “Operation Cross Country” resulted in the rescue of over 200 sex trafficking victims, the recovery of 59 missing children, and the liberation of 59 victims of child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
FBI Director Christopher Wray strongly denounced trafficking, characterizing it as a severe infringement upon human rights that targets the most vulnerable members of society. He firmly asserted that such atrocities would not be accepted or allowed to persist.
Operation Cross Country originated from a 2003 FBI initiative aimed at locating minors who have been subjected to sexual exploitation. On a daily basis, law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels collaborate to identify and apprehend traffickers, holding them accountable for their crimes. The sweeps conducted during Operation Cross Country serve as an additional measure to reinforce law enforcement efforts.
Michelle DeLaune, the president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, praised the law enforcement agencies involved in the operation for their unwavering commitment to safeguarding children. She emphasized that behind every statistic lies an individual with hopes, dreams, and the fundamental right to live a life free from sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Attorney General Merrick Garland conveyed that the criminals responsible for these heinous acts exploit and endanger society’s most vulnerable individuals, causing them unimaginable harm. He highlighted that the Department of Justice continues to collaborate with its partners to prevent human trafficking, enhance detection, investigation, and prosecution of such crimes. Additionally, they are actively working towards expanding services and support for survivors.