Sacramento, Calif – Officials from the FBI and its state and local partners announced that 149 underage trafficking victims were recovered and 154 pimps we arrested in a nationwide human trafficking operation last week. The initiative, dubbed Operation Cross Country IX, is a national program spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with state and local law enforcement partners across the country. The initiative targets the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.
“Human trafficking is a monstrous and devastating crime that steals lives and degrades our nation,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “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. The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively and persistently fight this heinous crime, and to hold its perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
In the area served by the FBI’s Sacramento field office, FBI officials announced the recovery of five underage victims and the arrest of seven pimps as part of the takedown. The FBI Sacramento field office and its law enforcement partners conducted multi-day operations in the area served by the FBI Sacramento field office focused on the metropolitan areas of Fairfield, Fresno, and Sacramento. These operations also resulted in the arrest of 90 adults for various offenses including probation violations and prostitution-related charges.
* In Sacramento, the FBI’s Sacramento Child Exploitation Task Force-that includes officers from the Sacramento Police Department–recovered two minors and arrested three alleged pimps; the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department recovered one minor.
* In Fairfield, the FBI, Fairfield Police Department, Solano County Sheriff’s Office, and Vallejo Police Department recovered one child and arrested two alleged pimps.
* Fresno operations conducted by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force–which includes officers from the Fresno Police Department–the Fresno Sheriff’s Office, and Tulare Police Department resulted in the recovery of one minor and the arrest of two alleged pimps.
“We sincerely thank our partners in Fairfield, Fresno, and Sacramento for their participation in Operation Cross Country IX and their continued, year-round commitment to the difficult task of identifying, locating, and recovering children who have been exploited and ensuring that their traffickers face justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI Sacramento field office. “While the arrest of the offender has an immediate result, only recovering a child can offer him or her an opportunity to begin to accept services necessary to begin the healing process and restore a sense of normalcy.”
In addition to Operation Cross Country IX, the FBI and Fairfield Fresno Police Department, Clovis Police Department, Merced Police Department, Tulare Police Department, and Visalia Police Department completed Operation Summer Tour in August. The five-week operation focused on commercial sexual exploitation of minors primarily in Clovis, Fresno, and Merced. The multi-week effort resulted in the recovery of 11 children as well as the arrest of six pimps. Additionally, 105 adults were arrested for a variety of other violations including probation violations and prostitution-related charges.
Operation Cross Country IX is the largest in the nine-year history of the initiative, with 53 FBI field offices and 73 Child Exploitation Task Forces taking part in the operation in 135 cities across America, including Fairfield, Fresno, and Sacramento. Nationwide, more than 500 law enforcement officials conducted both “in-call” and “out-call” operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops and in other areas known as frequented by prostitutes, sex-traffickers, and their customers.
“We’re proud to partner with the FBI and provide support to both law enforcement and victim specialists in the field as they work to locate and recover survivors of child sex trafficking,” said Linda Krieg, Acting Chief Executive Officer of NCMEC. “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 from exploitation.”
Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost national initiative, which began in 2003. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 children have been recovered from underage prostitution and prosecutors have obtained more than 2,000 convictions, including at least 15 that have resulted in life sentences. For additional information on Operation Cross Country IX, and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov