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FBI rescues more than 200 sex trafficking victims, including 84 children

FBI rescues more than 200 sex trafficking victims, including 84 children
‘As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation [of] our most vulnerable populations’

The FBI rescued more than 200 sex trafficking victims, including 84 children, in a nationwide sweep called Operation Cross Country.

Law enforcement across the United States took part and found 37 children that were actively missing, as well as 141 adult victims, according to the FBI.

The youngest victim rescued was just 11 years old, say officials.

FBI Director Christopher Wray called sex trafficking “among the most heinous crimes” the agency encounters in a statement on the sweep.

“Unfortunately, such crimes — against both adults and children — are far more common than most people realize,” said Mr Wray.

“As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation [of] our most vulnerable populations.”

More than 200 state, local, and federal partners, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, took part in 391 operations over a two-week period this month.

And it led to investigators identifying or arresting 85 people suspected of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking, say authorities.

“The Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to combat the insidious crimes of human trafficking that devastate survivors and their families,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland of the operation.

FBI Atlanta’s operation located 19 missing children alone and resulted in the arrest of four traffickers.

“The initiative really just takes a concentrated period of time where we’re just focused on the problem of child sex trafficking,” said FBI section chief Jose Perez, who oversees violent crime investigations.

“What we do is we sit down with our local partners and our task forces and identify certain areas where we know sex trafficking is prevalent, and we’ll dedicate resources and efforts to identify and remove victims from those areas.”