FBI Operation Cross Country XI is an operation that seeks to take down the sex trade. But their “primary goal is to recover children.” After they rescue the children they focus in on their needs by getting them whatever social services they may require. Operation Cross Country is Part of The Innocence Lost National Initiative Program that started in 2003.
Operation Cross Country XI has saved 82 minors and arrested 120 people nationwide this year. The average age of a rescued minor is 15 but some can be as young 3. Traffickers often target children that are “damaged” as they are easier to lure off.
“The more ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) that someone has the higher likelihood that they’ll experience other forms of trauma and abuse in life,” said Myles the CEO of Polaris, a company that recently opened a sex trafficking hotline.
Operation Cross Country XI is a nationwide effort with over “55 FBI field offices and 78 FBI-led Child Exploitation Task Forces composed of more than 500 law enforcement agencies.” The sting operations took place at hotels, truck stops, casinos, and through the use of multiple internet social sites.
Since the start of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, there have been over 6500 children rescued from sex slave trade. Sex Trafficking is an ongoing nationwide issue, countless offenders have been arrested due to this program but it is the equivalent to whack-a-mole fair game. Once you take one down another shortly appears in his/her place.
Watch The Video About Operation Cross Country Below.
At a press conference in Denver on Thursday, District Attorney George Brauchler reminded traffickers that undercover agents and task force officers are always lurking, be it behind cameras, on the Internet or in a casino, prepared to make another bust.
“To those out there who are watching this who might avail themselves of the opportunity to exploit children or to engage in even the adult sex trade, this is a bit of a warning. … The people that you can’t see behind those cameras, they are fins. They are fins in the water and they represent sharks who are there all the time.”
“And my advice to you is to stay out of those waters where the kids are, to stay out of those waters where exploited adults are for sex because they are out there and they will get you. And when they get you, my office will handle the rest.”
The FBI continues to work with agencies and organization specializing in child protective services for the 84 rescued children.
There are still thousands of children locked in shackles as chess pieces in a game of sex slavery, and without consistent efforts, Myles said he doesn’t think it will end
“We are seeing about an average of 23 cases a day. So we need that daily drumbeat of a 24-hour response throughout the country,” he said. “Operation Cross Country doesn’t happen every day. But these cases are breaking across our country every day.”