The Human Trafficking Problem. The FBI Is On the Case.
It’s not Hollywood hype. There are real agencies and real people saving kids.
In the Summer of 2023, the FBI led a successful effort to slow down human trafficking and arrest criminals. Also, in the summer of 2023 a movie came out about child sex trafficking called “The Sound of Freedom,” based on a true story.
The movie attracted millions of viewers, made a lot of money, and caused some political controversy, too, in the process. The controversy part is unfortunate, because it took attention away from the very real and very serious issue.
- Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking with Kevin Metcalf – August 4, 2021
- Child Exploitation with Dr. Deaneè Johnson – May 19, 2021
There is no denying the key and critical point the movie wanted to make—Human sex trafficking and child exploitation is a serious problem, especially with the ongoing explosion of social media apps and usage by teenagers and children.
Like many other issues—homelessness, poverty, drugs, and so on—it may take some time for trafficking and child exploitation to get the attention it needs.
Details about the FBI human-trafficking operation.
In the summer of 2023, an FBI-led operation led to the arrest of dozens of suspected human-trafficking suspects, and hundreds of others suspected of being involved in some way with trafficking.
The extensive effort led by the FBI is called Operation Cross Country:
- It involves a coordinated effort among the FBI, state and local police, social service agencies and other federal agencies.
- This was a two-week long operation of rescuing victims of sex trafficking, as well as arresting suspected human traffickers and child exploitation suspects.
- It involves all FBI field offices and has been in operation for more than a dozen years.
Saving the innocent. Arresting criminals.
The 2023 Operation Cross Country campaign—a nationwide enforce effort—netted positive results, although more still needs to be done. The results of the campaign were heartening:
- In excess of 200 trafficking victims were rescued and freed from their captors!
- The FBI identified and arrested more than 60 human traffickers.
- Additionally, more than 125 people were accused of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking crimes.
The FBI also were able to locate:
- Close to five dozen underage victims of child sex trafficking.
- About that same number of children were missing and being searched for by authorities.
The mission and goal of Operation Cross-Country.
Throughout the year, law agencies and independent organizations across the country work diligently to identify and locate traffickers and their networks, and especially their victims.
Christopher Wray, the FBI Director expressed the agencies commitment to the fight against this ongoing threat. “Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights the preys on the most vulnerable members of our society. The FBI’s actions against this threat never waver as we continue to send our message that these atrocities will not be tolerated.”
One of the organizations that plays a major role in the cause is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Who is the NCMEC?
They are a non-profit and private clearing house of information, which accumulates thousands of points of data on the topic of missing and exploited children.
Their stated mission is to help find missing children, reduce child exploitation and prevent child victimization. That entails:
- Preventing child abductions
- Recovering missing children
- Providing services to deter and combat sexual exploitation.
From the time they were established in 1984, the NCMEC has receive in excess of 5 million phone calls. And they have assisted with the rescue and recovery of more than 400,000 missing children.
NCMEC President and CEO Michelle DeLaune is appreciative of the FBI’s commitment to Operation Cross Country and saving children.
How they approach their mission.
Then in August of 2023, a news story broke announcing that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation had rescued 200 trafficking victims. That’s great news for the world, knowing that government agencies, tasks forces and concerned professionals are engaged in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation.
Like a Hollywood movie.
In the movie “Sound of Freedom,” two children are pursued by a retired FBI agent, who travels to South America to find the victims and stop the business of the sex traffickers.
It’s encouraging to know that that same kind of effort is happening in real life.
For more information about human trafficking and other online dangers to children and their parents, follow the Easy Prey podcast.
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