BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – A national enforcement action aimed at recovering sex trafficking victims resulted in the recovery a 17-year-old juvenile and other young adults in Alabama, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Operation Cross Country VIII (OCC8) concluded Sunday and took place in 106 cities across the nation. The initiative was spearheaded by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) and is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative.
“Sex trafficking of children is one of the most violent and unconscionable crimes committed in this country,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein. “There are few law enforcement missions more important than protecting our nation’s children.”
FBI spokesman Paul E. Daymond says the CETF and other agencies contacted the recovered young women through undercover agents and detectives.
One juvenile was removed from victimization in North Alabama by the FBI and assisting law enforcement agencies. Three suspected pimps were arrested, and four other pimps were identified. Authorities have not released names or charges against the suspects at this time.
Fourteen adults, whose ages range from 19 to 34, were also found to have been involved in prostitution. The FBI says some of the adults had been forced into engaging in prostitution since they were juveniles.
A six-week-old baby was rescued in Birmingham during the sweep.
Daymond says a variety of services were offered to the women and girls after they were recovered, including housing, counseling, medical assistance and bags with necessary personal items.
Law enforcement agencies from around the state assisted with the operation, including the Birmingham Police Department, Vestavia Hills Police Department, Pelham Police Department, Hoover Police Department, Moody Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
The FBI asks anyone with information about any possible sex trafficking activity to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
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