14 Oct 2015

Nationwide child sex trafficking sting frees 149 children, 151 alleged pimps arrested

Local news agencies across the United States are reporting the results of Operation Cross Country IX, a massive, nation-wide effort to crack down on the sex trade and human trafficking. Trafficked children, in particular, are the primary target of the raid, with local and federal officials working together to free the sex trafficking victims.
In Jacksonville, Florida 25 people were arrested as suspected pimps, and one child freed. Meanwhile, in Oregon three trafficked children were freed and six alleged pimps arrested. In Detroit, 19 children were rescued, while 6 people were arrested as suspected pimps. Many other raids were reported across the country.
In total, Operation Cross Country IX saw 149 children freed, and 151 people arrested in connection with their exploitation. The operation is part of the Innocence Lost program, which was created in 2003 and has so far freed an estimated 4,800 children, and resulted in the convictions of 2,000 people associated with their sexual exploitation.
In Operation Cross Country VIII, which took place inJune of 2014, 281 alleged pimps were arrested and 168 children were rescued. With last year’s sex trafficking victims, many were found to be minors in the U.S. welfare system that had gone missing.
The nature of this year’s victims has not yet been disclosed, but trafficked children often come from vulnerable groups and populations. Experts warn that more resources are needed to treat and assist the children.
For victims of sexual exploitation, physical freedom is just the first step towards recovery. Many victims suffer long-term mental and stress related issues due to their sexual exploitation.
Owing to the secretive nature of the sex trade, statistics are hard to produce, but anti-trafficking group Polaris estimates that as many as 100,000 children are exploited each year in the United States alone.

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