United States: National Operation to Combat Child Sex Trafficking
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 4:25 PM

A total of 105 victims of sex trafficking were rescued and 150 perpetrators arrested in a three-day-long US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) roundup entitled “Operation Cross Country.” Part of the FBI project, Innocence Lost National Initiative, Operation Cross Country took place in 76 cities across the US. The majority of victims ranged from 13 to 17 years of age. Since its beginning in 2003, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has rescued at least 2,700 child victims and convicted 1,350 perpetrators. Many of the victims were identified through the website Backpage.com. Technology and the Internet are becoming increasingly common tools in sex trafficking. Backpage.com maintains that in its absence, traffickers would move to new sites, which would not assist law enforcement.

While progress made in these operations is promising, the FBI acknowledges that much is left to be accomplished in the area of sex trafficking. Ron Hosko, FBI criminal investigative division assistant director, explained, “Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across the country.” Many of the victims had been residents of runaway or group homes. Police in one city stated that many of the victims feel they are dependent on traffickers or perpetrators to survive.