Sex Trafficking is becoming more and more of a problem, but more and more groups are going undercover, trying to put a stop to it.
The FBI announced from October 12th to the 15th, 84 underage victims and 120 traffickers were arrested as part of the annual human sex trafficking sting Operation Cross County XI. The average age of the victims were 15 years old. The youngest, a three-month-old infant. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement:
“Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work.”
One of the most disgusting cases involved a three-month-old girl and her 5-year-old sister, where a friend staying with the family offered to sell them both for sex to an undercover agent from FBI’s Denver office for $600.
Special agent in charge of FBI Denver Calvin Shivers said in a statement:
“We recognize that there is a lot more work to be done to identify and recover even more victims.”
Operation Cross Country takes place around the country in casinos, hotels, truck stops, street corners and internet sites, and when the FBI finds victims, the organization gets victims mental and health counseling along with other services. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement:
“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.”
One former trafficking victim described her experience to the FBI. She was a college graduate with a master’s degree and experimented with gateway drugs in college. She went on to trying heroin. The FBI agent who rescued her says drug addiction is a big way pimps get girls to not stop working. The victim saying:
“In the beginning, it’s easy for them to manipulate you when you have nothing and they’re literally providing you with everything and they have that control over you. It kind of became just like giving into them because I felt obligated to do certain things with them in order for them to keep providing for me.”
The victim says pimps would constantly remind the girls that they were their only source of income and shelter.
With the growing number of young women disappearing, Operation Cross Country has expanded internationally, with operations in Canada, the UK, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand.