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FBI rescues children in 'Operation Cross Country VIII': 168 saved, 281 arrested

The FBI rescued 168 children in 'Operation Cross Country VIII'
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The FBI rescued 168 children in a nationwide crackdown that involved about 400 law enforcement agencies. CNN reported the details on Tuesday, and it seems more than 100 cities were a part of the effort. While the ongoing crackdown efforts don't put an end to child trafficking in this country, they at least provides a serious start.

Authorities targeted places like truck stops, casinos and online escort services for the nationwide crackdown on commercial sex trafficking. The FBI reports that the effort was titled “Operation Cross Country VIII,” and the FBI rescued children who had been forced into the prostitution trade. In addition to federal, state and local authorities, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children helped in the effort to combat child sex trafficking.

FBI Director James B. Comey says of the effort, “Every child deserves to be safe and sound.” The hope is that these targeted efforts “can end the cycle of victimization.” The week-long effort is a part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that first was put into place in 2003. To date the effort has helped the FBI rescue nearly 3,600 children. There have been 1,450 convictions related to the effort and the sentences include 14 life terms.

Though the FBI rescued children all across the country, their site lists some areas whose FBI divisions had heavier involvement than others. Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver and Los Angeles had noticeable activity resulting in children recovered. Divisions with significant numbers of pimps arrested include Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Jackson. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Cleveland were in the mix as well.

While one nationwide crackdown on child sex trafficking in the U.S. doesn't put an end to the problem, it certainly makes a dent. For the lives of the 168 children the FBI rescued, it makes a huge difference. Sadly the need for “Operation Cross Country” continues, but it is clear the FBI and other involved authorities are determined to make an impact on this problem.

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