The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), announced today that 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15, 2017.
Task forces in Los Angeles and Riverside collectively rescued eight minors during this weekend’s operation. In addition to the juveniles recovered, adult females were also rescued and offered services. Several individuals were arrested for prostitution, solicitation and other offenses. No federal charges have been filed at this time. Law enforcement will evaluate whether federal charges are applicable in any of the cases.
This is the 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country (OCC), which took place this year in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces, consisting of hundreds of law enforcement partners. This year’s coordinated operations took place with several international partners, including Canada (Operation Northern Spotlight), the United Kingdom (Aident 8), Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
As part of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and Internet websites. The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old. Minors recovered during Cross Country Operations are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division. Depending on the level of need, victims are offered medical and mental health counseling, as well as a number of other services.
“Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America, and at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we’re working to combat this problem every day,” said NCMEC President and CEO John Clark. “We’re proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation’s children.”
Operation Cross Country XI is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations. For additional information on Operation Cross Country XI and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.
Multiple law enforcement task forces and departments, as well as non governmental organizations in southern California work together throughout the year to combat underage human trafficking. Many of these organizations participated in the operation over the past weekend, including:
FBI Los Angeles – Innocence Lost Task Force
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force (LASD)
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Los Angeles Probation
Department of Family and Children Services (DCFS)
Inglewood Police Department (IPD)
Saving Innocence (SI)
The Dream Center
Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
San Bernardino Human Trafficking Task Force:
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office
San Bernardino Police Department
Pomona Police Department
San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office
San Bernardino City Unified School District Police
Ontario Police Department
Department of Homeland Security
Riverside Anti Human Trafficking Task Force:
Riverside County Sheriff’s Office
Riverside Police Department
Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
Corona Police Department
State Department Diplomatic Security Services
Department of Homeland Security