An FBI-led investigation called “Operation Cross Country” has identified and located 84 minors who the Department of Justice said were victims of “child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation.”
More than three-dozen actively missing children were reportedly found in the search all across the US, the FBI announced Monday, August 15.
“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement praising law enforcement partners including the FBI for their dogged efforts.
Garland also vowed to provide support and services for victims discovered by the Justice Department.
Special agents reportedly teamed up with 200 state, local and federal partners, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to conduct 391 operations over a two-week period in August.
Also, FBI Director Christopher Wray called human trafficking one of the “most heinous” crimes the agency deals with and vowed to continue battling sexual exploitation.
“Unfortunately, such crimes — against both adults and children — are far more common than most people realize,” Wray said in the DOJ statement Monday acknowledging federal efforts to confront the issue.
In addition to identifying adolescent victims, the FBI helped locate more than 140 adult victims of human trafficking, the department said. The youngest victim discovered during Operation Cross Country was said to be 11 years old.
“Agents and investigators also identified or arrested 85 suspects of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses,” the Justice Department added.