[Fox News] FBI finds 200 victims of sex trafficking, 59 missing children in nationwide operation

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The FBI said Tuesday that it had found 200 victims of sex trafficking during a nationwide enforcement campaign last month called “Operation Cross Country.” 

The operation also led to the identification or arrest of 126 suspects of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses, and 68 suspects of trafficking were identified or arrested. 

The bureau and its partners found 59 minor victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses and located 59 actively missing children during the two-week initiative. 

Identified suspects will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges.

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Partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Operation Cross Country focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex and human trafficking. 

Law enforcement agencies identified and apprehended offenders, dismantling criminal networks.

An FBI multidisciplinary team – including victim specialists, child and adolescent forensic interviewers, special agents and other victim service personnel – works with state and local partners to make resources available to meet the unique needs of trafficking victims.

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Specialists provide services based on the individual needs of human trafficking victims, and they serve as a conduit between victims and investigators. 

“Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable members of our society, and their crimes scar victims — many of them children — for life. The FBI’s commitment to combatting this threat will never waver, and we will continue to send our message that these atrocities will not be tolerated,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. 

“Sex traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. “This operation, which located 59 actively missing children, builds on the tremendous work the FBI has undertaken over many years to rescue minor victims and arrest those responsible for these unspeakable crimes. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across the country to prevent human trafficking; increase detection, investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes; and expand support and services to protect and empower survivors.”

Last year, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received more than 19,000 reports of possible child sex trafficking and more than 400 reports of children who had run away and were likely victims of child sex trafficking, who were also being exploited through a gang.

This announcement comes amid the unexpected success of “Sound of Freedom,” an indie film about sex trafficking which has raked in over $130 million at the box office since its July 4 weekend debut. 

Fox News’ Kristine Parks contributed to this report.

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