Operation Cross Country is an FBI operation that is cracking down on sex trafficking in the United States. Approximately 170 victims of child sex trafficking have been rescued in the past week via the yearly nationwide crackdown, according to the FBI on Monday. The results of the latest crackdown have been reported upon by Yahoo! News on Monday as well.
In the operation, 168 children were found and rescued from the sex trafficking. The operation also arrested 281 pimps – those who promote the child sex slaves for financial gain. The pimps were arrested during the identical time period on federal as well as state charges.
Commenting on the events during the crackdown, James Comey – the director of the FBI – said that these are not faraway children in faraway lands. He said during his statement regarding Operation Cross Country that the children involved with the sex trafficking are America’s children.
According to FBI data, this latest crackdown was the eighth week-long operation. This year’s actions involved 106 cities spanning across the nation. The FBI claims that almost 3,600 children have been recovered from the street so far during the operations.
Comey went on to say that he really hates that the FBI has to do this type of work. Yet, he asserts, that he loves the people who have devoted their lives to doing this work. He says that there is no more meaningful work that the FBI participates in other than rescuing children like this.
The operations have been designed to crush the pimps, Comey says. He said the purpose of the operation to show everyone that children are not for sale. Additionally, the program is designed to rescue children who are being trafficked on street corners and in truck stops. He also said that children are being trafficked more and more on the Internet. He claims that sex trafficking pimps advertise and arrange sexual encounters on the Internet.
One of the obstacles in the operation is that many of the children have never been reported missing by their parents or anyone else. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CEO John Ryan says that when no one reports children missing, no one is looking for them. Ryan calls on legislatures to come up with better laws which will require child welfare services to report children who have disappeared. He claims that only two states have such laws and there is no national equivalent to the laws.
Operation Cross Country is a portion of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. It was established in 2003. It was created by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division along with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to Fox News, and it is designed to address child prostitution which is a growing problem in the country.