FBI: 84 children rescued, 120 arrested in nationwide human trafficking operation

Sex trafficking is all about supply and demand, and the billion-dollar industry is targeting our children.

The FBI announced Wednesday it recovered 84 minors and arrested 120 suspects in a nationwide underage human trafficking operation.

FBI agents in the Tampa field office recovered one minor and arrested three human traffickers.

“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 in a news release. “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." 

The four-day sting marked the 11th FBI-led Operation Cross Country. This year’s operation took place in 55 FBI field offices. It also involved 78 state and local tasks forces.

FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, street corners and 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, according to the FBI.

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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© 2017 WTSP-TV


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