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 XIis 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 visitwww.fbi.gov.
24-Hour HOTLINE 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) 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.
by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®
Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day. Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.
Review the four rules of personal safety with your children. Remind them to:
Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you. It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.
Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help. Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.
If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.
Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride. Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.
Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.
Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them. If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.
Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information. Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.
Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.
“Stranger-Danger” Warnings Not Effective at Keeping Kids Safer
By Nancy A. McBride, National Safety Director National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® www.missingkids.com
“Stranger danger” — the phrase is so pervasive in our culture it has become part of the lexicon. The media and other professionals often use this phrase as a slogan to try to educate children about how to avoid dangerous situations and individuals. When well-intentioned professionals and parents/guardians use the phrase “stranger danger” it may mistakenly convey only strangers harm children. The message of “never talk to strangers” does not fully educate children about how to stay safer.
What does “stranger danger” really mean, and do children benefit from an outdated and misleading message?
Here’s what we have learned about the “stranger-danger” concept.
Children don’t get it
Adults don’t practice it
Children need to know how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations
Adults need to know risks to children are greater from someone they know
This is why the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) does not support the “strangerdanger” message. The majority of cases have shown most children are not taken by a stranger, but rather are abducted by someone they know.
When questioned, children will often describe a “stranger” as someone who is “ugly or mean.” They do not perceive attractive or friendly people as “strangers.” If someone talks to a child or is even around a child more than once, that person may lose his or her “stranger” status to the child. The child may then think he or she
“knows” that person. Children also want to be helpful, thrive on adult approval, and respond to adult authority.
So if someone with ill intent asks a child to perform a task or tells a child something has happened to a loved one, there is a good chance the child may be tricked into going with that person.
The “stranger-danger” message becomes even more confusing for children because they may not be able to tell by looking at someone whether that individual is “good” or “bad.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply recognize and point out the “bad” people to our children? Adults often break the rule of “don’t talk to strangers”
in a number of different situations. Adults, however, have the benefit of experience, judgment, and decision making skills. Children do not. And even adults, at times, may misperceive potential dangers. So if we are not always able to identify “bad” people, we certainly cannot expect our children to be able to do so.
Children need to be empowered with positive messages and safety skills that will not only build their self-esteem and self-confidence but also help keep them safer. Children need to learn how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations. If they become involved in a dangerous situation, children need to learn
effective steps they can take to remove themselves from the situation. Children do not need to be told the world is a scary place. They see it through a variety of media, hear it from adults, or may even personally experience violence. Children need to know their parents, guardians, or other trusted adults — people whom the parents/guardians have come to rely on and with whom they and their children feel comfortable — are there for them if they are in trouble. Children also need to know the majority of adults in their lives are good people.
When we tell children to “never talk to strangers,” we have effectively eliminated a key source of help for them. If they are lost they may be surrounded by many rescuers who could help them. If children perceive these people as “strangers,” they may not speak or reach out to them. There have been cases in which a child’s rescue was delayed because the lost child was afraid to call out to the “strangers” when rescuers were nearby. Parents and guardians cannot be with their children every second of the day. We need to give our children “safety nets,” the plans and people you’ve put in place to contact so your children know there is always someone available to help them. These individuals may include uniformed law-enforcement or security officers and store/business personnel wearing nametags.
The safety messages need to be tailored to specific circumstances, such as being lost outside. Parents and guardians should teach children to:
Stay put and not wander away from where they first became lost. Staying where they are increases children’s chances of being found unless that place becomes too dangerous because of severe weather or another potentially threatening situation. In that case children need to go to the nearest safe spot and wait for rescuers.
Make noise either by yelling, blowing a whistle, or attracting attention in some other way. This may help bring someone to their rescue.
Parents and guardians should make child safety part of a child’s everyday life in a reassuring way by practicing these skills. Whether it is checking first with a trusted adult, taking a friend, or avoiding and getting out of potentially dangerous situations, there are easy “what-if” scenarios you may practice with your children to make sure they understand and “get it.” Make outings to a mall or the park a “teachable moment” to make sure your children understand the safety messages and are able to use them in real-life situations.
Children will begin to learn what to do if they become lost or are in danger by practicing these “what-if” scenarios with you on a regular basis. You can also use these opportunities to reassure your children you are there for them, and remind them there are other people who also are able to help them.
NCMEC believes it is time for everyone to retire use of the “stranger-danger” message. By realizing child safety
is much more than a slogan, we can then arm our children with relevant, age-appropriate messages to help empower and protect them from potentially dangerous situations. Having strong parental, guardian, and caregiver supervision and attention is vital to keeping our children safer.
For more information about child-safety topics, visit our website at www.missingkids.com or contact us at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).
This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-MC-CX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and 1-800-THE-LOST® are registered trademarks of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. NCMEC Order PDF-10A.
NOTE: This is not the property of NOT IN MY WORLD!!!!, we are a self-supporting information center for parents, families, and the public, to help all children, who are the future of our world; by raising awareness to Child Abuse, and it’s lifelong detrimental effects.
We want to say THANK YOU to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of Justice for allowing us the use of so many resources to properly educate our staff, and also to pass along this valuable information and resources to Parents, Family, and the public.