FBI: Child Sex Trafficking operations
conducted in Myrtle Beach, Lumberton
Conway, SC – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lumberton, North Carolina, were both sites of operations conducted last week as part of a cross-country Federal Bureau of Investigation effort to crack down on underage human trafficking, according to a news release.
The operation, Operation Cross Country XI, resulted in the recovery of 84 minors and the arrest of 120 traffickers from Oct. 12 through Oct. 15, the release from the FBI said.
The youngest victim recovered was 3 months old, and the average age of the recovered victims was 15 years old, the release said.
In one example, on Oct. 13, FBI Denver found two minor girls, one 3-months-old and one 5-years-old, after a friend of the children’s family offered an undercover officer “access to the two children for sexual purposes in exchange for $600,” the release said.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in the release. “This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and internet websites. The operations in the Carolinas happened in Myrtle Beach and Columbia in South Carolina, and Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Lumberton in North Carolina, according to the FBI.
“Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America,” said National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® President and CEO John Clark, which partnered with the FBI for the operation. “We’re proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation’s children.”
This is the 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country (OCC), which took place this year in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces, consisting of hundreds of law enforcement partners. This year’s coordinated operations took place with several international partners, including Canada (Operation Northern Spotlight), the United Kingdom (Aident 8), Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
Operation Cross Country XI is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations. For additional information on Operation Cross Country XI and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visit www.fbi.gov.
If you think you have seen a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Report Child Sexual Exploitation
Use the CyberTipline to report child sexual exploitation.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN