According to the FBI, Over the past 72 hours local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concluded Operation Cross Country V, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative.
The operation included enforcement actions in 40 cities across 34 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 69 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 885 others, including 99 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.
“Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces,” said Shawn Henry, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch.
“There is no work more important than protecting America’s children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization. Through our strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, we are able to make a difference.”
Notably, Task Force operations usually begin as local actions, targeting such places as truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and Internet websites, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this information in partnership with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and file federal charges where appropriate.
Data from the ’39 Innocence Lost Task Forces and Working Groups’ have recovered over 1,200 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 625 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple 25-years-to-life sentences and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.
There are JUST too many of our innocents for a myriad of reasons still unaccounted for.
In the spring of 2003, the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice’s CEOS and NCMEC, formed the Innocence Lost National Initiative to address the growing problem of children forced into prostitution.
“The leadership of the FBI and the Justice Department in attacking domestic child trafficking and prostitution is historic,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “Once again, Operation Cross Country has awakened the nation to the fact that today, American children are being marketed and sold for sex in American cities. These kids are victims. We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary partnership to rescue children, save lives, and bring the pimps and operators to justice.”
This is 21st century slavery.
This program brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers all from around the country to NCMEC, where the groups are trained together. In addition, CEOS has reinforced the training by assigning prosecutors to help bring cases in those cities plagued by child prostitution.
The FBI announced their gratitude to the over 2,100 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers representing 186 separate agencies who participated in Operation Cross Country and ongoing enforcement efforts.
The charges announced today are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
To learn more about Operation Cross Country and the Innocence Lost National Initiative see the FBI or the DOJ
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I ask you all, to be aware. When a child runs away from home you pass them on the street. Offer food, counsel if you ever suspect something is not right. If your instinct kicks in, question it. Many runaways are not that because they are simply defiant. They flee from abuse, molestation & neglect.
If you see a child being severely chastised at a grocery store, intervene. Call authorities whenever you feel something is JUST not right about a questionable scenario.
WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF ERNIE ALLEN
PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN
FOR THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM AND HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY ON “DOMESTIC MINOR SEX TRAFFICKING”
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
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January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 07, 2010 National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Events Near You
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