As part of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers and Victim Specialist Anne Darr describe the primary role of the FBI’s national multi-agency initiative—to recover children who are being trafficked.
Federal agents in Chicago — the Chicago FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force — have arrested two teenage traffickers and rescued three minors held as sex slaves in Chicagoland. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Illinois, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and police officers in Arlington Heights, Lansing and Schaumburg worked on the case.
Chicago is among 55 FBI field offices where Operation Cross Country (OCC) arrests were made. FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, street corners, and Internet websites. In addition, the crackdown included international partners from Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines.
The raids in Chicagoland were part of a four-day effort by the FBI called “Operation Cross Country XI”.
Nationwide, U.S. authorities report they arrested 120 traffickers and recovered 84 minors between October 12-15, 2017. 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. The 3-month old and a five-year old were recovered by FBI agents in Denver on October 13, 2017. A friend of the children’s family offered an undercover officer access to the two children for sex in exchange for $600, according to investigators.
“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. 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.”
— FBI Director Christopher Wray
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. The FBI describes sex trafficking as a multi-billion dollar business with young girls functioning as the product. FBI officials say sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in America that can victimize anyone.
Raw video from Operation Cross Country actions in Denver, Colorado and Toledo, Ohio from October 12-14, 2017. The FBI-led multi-agency law enforcement effort is focused on recovering children and holding sex traffickers accountable.
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