The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and several international law-enforcement partners, announced Oct. 18 that 82 juveniles were recovered and 239 pimps and their associates were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country X, an international effort focusing on underage human trafficking which ran from Oct. 13-15.
This is the tenth iteration of FBI-led initiative which took place across the United States and, for the first time, also took place in several countries around the world. Law enforcement partners from Cambodia, Canada, The Philippines and Thailand had operations in their respective countries. The results of Operation Cross Country X were announced by FBI Director James Comey and NCMC Director John Clark at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention in San Diego, CA.
"Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population," said FBI Director Comey. "As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but, through our Office of Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves."
Operations took place in a number of locations, including hotels, truck stops and street corners. Minors recovered during an arrest are engaged with state protective services, and victim assistance. Depending on the level of need, a law enforcement officer and, if available, an FBI Victim Specialist will accompany the survivor to obtain these services. Any adult arrested pursuant to state charges will be processed by state and local law enforcement partners assisting in Operation Cross Country.
As part of Operation Cross Country, on Oct. 14 the FBI Cleveland Violent Crime and Child Exploitation Task Force, recovered a 17-year-old victim of child sex trafficking and arrested Tyrell Moss, 32, and Jada Boyd, 19, suspected of involvement in the 17-year-old's exploitation at a hotel in the Eastern suburbs of Cleveland. The two individuals taken into custody were arrested based on State of Ohio Compelling Prostitution charges (ORC 2907.21). For approximately the past two weeks, Boyd and Moss traveled with the juvenile from her home in Tacoma, WA to Boise, ID, then made stops in Salt Lake City, California, Las Vegas, Denver and Chicago, before coming to the Cleveland area on Oct. 14. At each stop, the child victim was engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.
The FBI Cleveland Violent Crime and Child Exploitation Task Force recovered two juvenile victims, three "Pimps/traffickers" were arrested, one adult prostitute was arrested, one individual in possession of child pornography was arrested, one federal search warrant was executed and a 2009 BMW X5 and approximately $3,000 in cash was seized throughout the weekend operation.
"Child sex trafficking is a global problem and we must throw every resource we can at combatting it," said NCMC Director John Clark. "All of us at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are proud to work side by side with the FBI and their law enforcement partners as we work tirelessly every day to find and rescue child victims and while ensuring that those responsible for this horrible crime are held accountable."
Operation Cross Country X is the largest ever in the history of the initiative, with 55 FBI field offices and 71 state and local task forces taking part in the operation in 106 cities across America. In addition, several dozen operations across Canada, and approximately ten operations took place in six cities across Cambodia, Thailand and The Philippines.
Operation Cross Country X is part of the FBI's Innocence Lost Initiative, which began in 2003. These teams work all year to recover minor trafficking victims. Since the inception of the program, there have been more than 6100 child identifications and locations.
For additional information on Operation Cross Country X and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.