The FBI rescued 84 children from exploitation in its annual crackdown on child trafficking in the United States. Also, 120 suspected child traffickers have been put behind bars. The October 12-15 crackdown saw FBI agents from 55 field offices join hundreds of state and local Law Enforcement Officers in efforts to deal with the issue of child trafficking.

Protect children from traffickers

According to The Daily Mail and 9News, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials carried out raids in casinos, hotels, truck stops, online websites, and street corners. They also interrogated pimps and prostitutes. Expounding on the fight against child trafficking, FBI Director Christopher Ray said that one of his agency's highest missions is to ensure that children in the United States are not harmed.

He added that the number of child traffickers arrested, and the number of children rescued during such operations reinforced why authorities have to keep on carrying out such security operations.

The Bureau boss added that the crackdown on child trafficking is not only about taking such criminals off the streets, but also about finding ways of assisting the innocent children who find themselves in the middle of a "vicious cycle of abuse." According to the British tabloid, the FBI rescued a three-months baby during the operation. The average age of the children recovered during the nationwide crackdown was 15 years.

FBI undercover missions

Dubbed "Operation Cross Country," the FBI initiative is in its 11th year. Due to its high rate of success, countries such as Canada, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom carried out similar sweeps.

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The US security agency joined forces with local partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. NMEC boss John Clark said that child trafficking takes place in every community across the US and that his organization is working tirelessly to deal with the menace. A five-year-old girl and her three-month-old sister were rescued by law enforcement officers in Denver on October 13. A source who was residing with the girls' family made a deal with an undercover agent to sell the two children for $600. Police officers in Denver rescued a total of 17 children since the operation began.

On the same day, an undercover agent responded to an online advertisement offering child entertainment, leading to the rescue of a 16-year-old girl in Texas. The FBI revealed that after answering the ad, the agent agreed to meet a 21-year-old woman. The woman then asked him to part with $200 to have carnal relations with her and the underage girl. The woman and one accomplice were subsequently apprehended. Since its inception in 2003, the FBI program has rescued over 6,500 children from child traffickers. Hundreds of the criminals have been prosecuted, and more than 30 were sentenced to life imprisonment.