Two juveniles have been recovered in Arkansas following an operation that targeted commercial child sex trafficking, according to a news release from the FBI on Monday (June 23).
During the last week, the FBI, partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement teams, conducted Operation Cross Country 8 to address commercial child sex trafficking, the release states.
The operation included enforcement actions in seven cities throughout the state of Arkansas and led to the recovery of two juveniles who were being victimized through prostitution. It also led to the arrest of six pimps. Additionally, 36 adult prostitutes were arrested in these efforts to rescue victims of child trafficking, according to the release.
“Child prostitution and human trafficking exists in Arkansas as it does across our country,” said David Resch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Arkansas.
He continued, ““Sex trafficking of children offends our most basic instincts and strikes at our fundamental responsibility to protect our most innocent from the most despicable. We at the FBI are proud of the work our partners across Arkansas perform each day to protect our children.”
Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas stated, “We remain dedicated to identifying children who have been forced into prostitution and exposed to horrendous situations. There is no higher priority in our office than crimes against children, and we will do all we can to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution, according to the release.
“To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets,” the release states.