Federal officials located more than 200 hundred sex trafficking victims in a nationwide enforcement campaign focused on identifying and locating victims and arresting traffickers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with its state and local partners in the first two weeks of August as a part of Operation Cross Country. Authorities identified and located 84 minor victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses, 37 actively missing children, and 141 adult victims of human trafficking.
The San Diego division of the FBI reported today that its agents located at least 17 potential human trafficking victims, one under the age of 18.
“We are proud to have worked alongside our law enforcement partners in our efforts against these horrific crimes,'' said Stacey Moy, special agent in charge of the FBI San Diego Field Office. “The FBI will continue to investigate all human trafficking, as we do every day, to ensure the victims receive the resources and assistance they need, and their traffickers are held accountable.''
Agents and investigators also identified or arrested 85 suspects with child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses in the nationwide effort. The average age of victims located during this year’s Operation Cross Country was 15.5, while the youngest victim discovered was 11 years old.
"Human trafficking is among the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Unfortunately, such crimes—against both adults and children—are far more common than most people realize. 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 of our most vulnerable populations.”
Intelligence analysts, victim specialists, and about 200 federal, state, and local agencies partnered with the FBI on Operation Cross Country. Authorities encountered both child victims of sex trafficking and adults who were being trafficked against their will. Federal officials said the goal is to gather intelligence, build criminal cases against traffickers, and assist victims.
According to the San Diego Division, local partners involved in the effort included the San Diego, National City, Escondido, and Chula Vista police departments, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, San Diego Office of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, San Diego County Probation Department, California Department of Justice, San Diego School Police Department and San Diego County Child Welfare Services.