National FBI sex trafficking investigation leads to identification of 84 minor victims

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The FBI announced Monday that a law enforcement effort aimed toward assisting victims of sex trafficking and arresting those responsible for running such criminal enterprises resulted in the identification of 84 minor victims across the nation, including two in Kansas City.

Dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” the initiative involved coordination with local and state agencies during early August. It led to the arrests of 85 people suspected of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

In Kansas City, area field agents found two adolescent victims. Another 12 adult victims were found and offered services locally, according to the FBI.

In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub, of the Kansas City office, said there “is no greater mission than protecting our nation’s children from harm.”

“The FBI is committed, and will always remain committed, to ensuring their safety,” Dayoub said. “Operation Cross Country has a dual mission: targeting traffickers who wish to harm to our children, but also to identify resources and help to offer these victims a way out from a cycle of abuse.”

The operation was conducted by FBI agents, intelligence analysts, victim specialists and forensic interviewers. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit agency, also provided assistance to law enforcement.