Operation Independence Day rescues 103 minors involved in sex trafficking
A month-long FBI-led operation to identify and arrest sex traffickers and recover child victims resulted in dozens of arrests across the country and the identification and recovery of 103 juveniles.
Sixty-seven suspected traffickers were arrested.
The initiative took place during July, dubbed Operation Independence Day, and relied on more than 400 law enforcement agencies working on FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces in each of the Bureau’s 56 field offices. The sweep included undercover operations and has led to the opening of five dozen federal criminal investigations.
Agents and analysts at FBI Headquarters and in the field worked closely with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to identify young runaways, missing kids, and juveniles who may have been subjected to human trafficking.
“The FBI is fiercely focused on recovering child victims and arresting the sex traffickers who exploit them,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “Through operations like this, the FBI helps child victims escape the abusive life of sex trafficking.”
Previously, the FBI initiated week-long national sweeps under the name Operation Cross Country to arrest traffickers and recover underage victims. This year, FBI field offices had a longer time window to plan and execute operations as part of the national initiative, with the goal being to develop richer leads and intelligence, and more robust cases.
Six minors were rescued in Atlanta alone, with two in Knoxville and two in Memphis.