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Updated: 9:14 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 | Posted: 8:22 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016

FBI rescues 82 juveniles, arrests hundreds in sex-trafficking operation

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 15: The FBI's Evidence Response Team organizes during a situation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By KIRO - Seattle

The FBI announced earlier this week that dozens of children have been rescued and hundreds of traffickers have been arrested in one of the largest child sex-trafficking operations in U.S. history.

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The FBI shared details of its annual busts, called Operation Cross Country X, in several cities across the country. The international effort focusing on underage human trafficking took three days, from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16.

This year's Operation Cross Country -- the largest to date -- led to the recovery of 82 sexually exploited juveniles and the arrests of 239 pimps and other individuals. The youngest recovered American victim was 13 years old.

"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, announcing the results of the operation during a press conference in San Diego. "We are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves."

Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003. According to the FBI, since its creation, the program has resulted in the identification and recovery of more than 6,000 children from child sex trafficking, and prosecutors have obtained 30 life sentences in cases against traffickers and their associates.


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