A sweeping anti-sex trafficking effort led to the rescue of dozens of missing and exploited children, the youngest of whom is 11 years old, according to the FBI.
Agents found 84 young victims and 37 missing kids during the nationwide sting dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” the agency said in a news release. The two-week effort involved state and local partners as they sought sex trafficking survivors — as well accused traffickers.
A total of 85 people were either identified or arrested in connection with human trafficking and child sex crimes, according to the FBI. Those identified will be investigated and could face prosecution.
During this year's iteration of the annual effort, the #FBI and our state and local partners identified and found 84 minor victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses, and found 37 actively missing children. #EndTrafficking https://t.co/OTsnlfd73T pic.twitter.com/DFQH3VDQNW
— FBI (@FBI) August 15, 2022
In addition to the child victims, agents also found 141 adults who had been sex trafficked, officials said. The average age of survivors found during similar operations is about 15.5 years old.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said human trafficking is “among the most heinous crimes” the agency encounters.
“Unfortunately, such crimes—against both adults and children — are far more common than most people realize,” Wray said in the release. “As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation our most vulnerable populations.”