Sixty people were arrested and four children were recovered in Georgia during an FBI-led operation that focused on child sex trafficking, the agency announced Wednesday morning.
Nationally, 120 suspected traffickers were arrested and 84 minors were recovered in the 11th run of Operation Cross Country from Thursday through Sunday, the FBI said in a news release.
“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,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the release.
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“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 youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered was 15, according to the FBI.
Minors recovered during the operations are offered assistance from state protective services and the FBI.
FBI agents and task force officers staged operations on websites and street corners as well as in truck stops, hotels and casinos, according to the release.
“The many men and women of law enforcement working on this operation are keenly aware of the importance of recovering these vulnerable young victims,” said David J. LeValley, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office. “I commend every one of them for their hard work and dedication in the recovery and the apprehension of those responsible for their exploitation.”
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children worked with the FBI on the initiative, as did many metro Atlanta police departments.
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