Tampa FBI: 84 kids rescued, 120 arrested in nationwide human trafficking sweep

Posted at 11:55 AM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 08:25:16-04

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children announced on Wednesday that 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking.

The operation ran from October 12 to the 15.

In operations based out of the FBI Tampa Field Office, one juvenile was recovered and three human traffickers arrested.

“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,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “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."

As part of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and Internet websites. 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 years old.

Minors recovered during Cross Country Operations are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI’s Victim Services Division. Depending on the level of need, victims are offered medical and mental health counseling, as well as a number of other services.

Participating law enforcement agencies in this year’s Operation Cross Country included: Tampa Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Winter Haven Police Department, Lake Wales Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Haines City Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orlando Police Department.

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