168 juveniles recovered by FBI in sex trafficking operation - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

168 juveniles recovered by FBI in sex trafficking operation

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The FBI, along with its local, state and federal law enforcement partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recover 168 juveniles during the past week in a nationwide operation targeting commercial sex trafficking.

Operation Cross Country, which was established in 2003, focuses on enforcing action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States.

"Targeting and harming America's children through commercial sex trafficking is a heinous crime, with serious consequences." said FBI Director James B. Comey. "Every child deserves to be safe and sound. Through targeted measures like Operation Cross Country, we can end the cycle of victimization."

The operation, according to FBI Columbia Special Agent in Charge David Thomas, saw one juvenile recovered in South Carolina while two pimps were arrested.

"Human trafficking is not only a global problem," Thomas said, "but a very real problem for the FBI and its law enforcement and community-based partners in this area as well. The FBI would like to encourage anyone with information regarding human trafficking to contact the Columbia FBI field office. Providing the much-needed relief from such exploitation is a very gratifying endeavor for the FBI agents working these matters."

In total, the nationwide operation has recover nearly 3,600 children from the streets across the nation. Investigations and subsequent sentences resulting from the operation have yielded lengthy sentences including 14 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

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