(WHDH) – A nationwide sex trafficking crackdown resulted in over 80 children being rescued, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday.
Operation Cross Country XI is the FBI’s annual push to recover underage victims of prostitution. While 84 minors were recovered during the four-day operation, the FBI said 120 sex traffickers were arrested across the country.
While the average age of the minors recovered was 15 years old, the youngest victim was just three months old, the FBI said. The infant and her five-year-old sister were rescued after a family friend tried to sell both children for sex in exchange for $600.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work.”
The agency worked with 55 FBI field offices and 78 state and local law enforcement organizations, staging their operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops.
“This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street,” FBI Director Wray said. “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.”
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