More Than 150 People Arrested In Nationwide Sex Trafficking Sting

By Michael Avery in News On 14th October 2015

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More than 150 people were arrested and nearly as many underage trafficking victims were rescued as part of a nationwide sex sting, the FBI announced on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015.

The youngest victim was 12 years old.

The effort, which is now in its ninth year, was spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with local law enforcement.

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"Human trafficking is a monstrous and devastating crime that steals lives and degrades our nation," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement, announcing the outcome of the sting known as Operation Cross Country.

"As a result of the FBI's outstanding coordination and exemplary efforts alongside state and local partners during Operation Cross Country, more children will sleep safely tonight, and more wrongdoers will face the judgment of our criminal justice system," she said.

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The nationwide trafficking sting is performed every year by the bureau, officials said, but this year's was the largest effort to date. The effort is part of the FBI's Innocence Lost National Initiative.

"We simply must continue to work with our partners to end the scourge of sex trafficking in our country," Comey said.

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More than 3,500 sex trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center last year alone.

Under federal law, anyone under 18 years of age induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking -- regardless of whether the trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion.

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#5

"Our mission is to protect the American people -- especially our children -- from harm," FBI Director James Comey said in a statement. "When kids are treated as a commodity in seedy hotels and on dark roadsides, we must rescue them from their nightmare and severely punish those responsible for that horror."

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More than 500 law enforcement officials in 135 cities participated in the operation -- which focused on places frequented by prostitutes, such as hotels and truck stops.

The FBI said 1549 children were rescued in the sting -- the youngest of whom were just 12 years old.

"The number of children recovered and pimps arrested in this year's operation highlights the importance of these efforts today and every day in protecting our children," Linda Krieg, the NCMEC's acting chief executive officer, said.