FBI cracks down on sex trafficking of juveniles - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

FBI cracks down on sex trafficking of juveniles

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Three Mississippi cities were recently targeted by the FBI to seek out sex traffickers.  

The Jackson Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with partners from state and local law enforcement agencies, announced today that 28 individuals associated with prostitution were arrested as a result of Operation Cross Country in Mississippi.

Operation Cross Country is an international, joint law enforcement operation focused on recovering underage victims of prostitution and drawing the public’s attention to the problem of sex trafficking at home and abroad.

"This year in Mississippi we did not have any juvenile arrests," said Assistant Special Agent Luis Quesada during a news conference at the Jackson Office of the FBI Tuesday. "Last year, we did in fact. I believe it was two of them last year."

Five pimps, 22 prostitutes and one person on narcotics charges were arrested as a result of Operation Cross Country. The operation took place in Mississippi on October 13 and 14.

String operations were set up in Jackson, Ridgeland and Southaven.

Nationwide, 82 minors were rescued and 239 pimps and their associates were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country. 

The underage victims are now connected with state protective services and victim assistance.

“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” said FBI Director Comey. “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but, through our Office of Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape a from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.” 

The FBI’s Jackson Division partnered with The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Mississippi Department of Corrections, Jackson Police Department, Ridgeland Police Department, Madison Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Southaven Police Department for Operation Cross Country.

Operation Cross Country X is the largest ever in the history of the initiative, with 55 FBI field offices and 71 state and local task forces taking part in the operation in 106 cities across America. In addition, several dozen operations across Canada, and approximately ten operations took place in six cities across Cambodia, Thailand and The Philippines. 

Operation Cross Country X is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative, which began in 2003. These teams work all year to recover minor trafficking victims. Since the inception of the program, there have been more than 6,100 child identifications and locations.
The FBI's intent is to raise awareness about the seriousness of child sexual exploitation.

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