FBI: Children Rescued in Sex-Trafficking Crackdown - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

FBI: Children Rescued in Sex-Trafficking Crackdown

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The FBI says agents and local police in the last week rescued 168 victims of child sex trafficking, including many who had never been reported missing.
 
In addition, 281 pimps were arrested as part of the same nationwide initiative, an annual enforcement push known as Operation Cross Country.
FBI Director James Comey told reporters Monday that the children who were rescued did not come from faraway lands but were instead "America's children."

“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.”

“Child sex traffickers create a living nightmare for their adolescent victims,” said Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.  “They use fear and force and treat children as commodities of sex to be sold again and again.  This operation puts traffickers behind bars and rescues kids from their nightmare so they can start reclaiming their childhood.”

Comey says one worrisome trend is the increasing prevalence of children being prostituted online.

“Operation Cross Country reveals that children are being targeted and sold for sex in America every day,” said John Ryan, President and CEO of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “We’re proud to partner with the FBI and provide support to both law enforcement and victim specialists in the field as they help survivors take that first step toward freedom.” 

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered nearly 3,600 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 14 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Locally, the two-day operation focused on the 4th Street corridor in downtown Reno and on individuals conducting sex trafficking/sexual exploitation using internet websites to arrange prostitution transactions.

Undercover detectives also utilized rooms in a downtown Reno hotel for this operation.    

On June 20, 2014 at approximately 4:11 p.m. police say a 17-year-old Reno girl was recovered. The recovery resulted from an operation targeting an internet website posting for prostitution. The child was immediately provided resources by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s victim advocate who also participated and was on scene during the operation.

Police say an additional 30 adults, ages ranging from 18 to 51, were arrested for solicitation for prostitution. Each of those 30 adults were met with, and provided resources (to include clothing, food, and referrals) by the FBI’s victim advocate and an advocate from Awaken Inc, a local faith based nonprofit group who has also partnered with the Reno Police Department.

The FBI, along with Detectives from the Regional Street Enforcement Team, attorneys and investigators from the Nevada Attorney General’s office, enforcement agents from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and attorneys from the United States Attorney’s Office participated with this initiative.


(The FBI and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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