Beginning last Thursday and continuing through
Saturday, the FBI and its local, state, and federal law
enforcement partners conducted Operation Cross Country VIII to address
commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States.
In Mississippi, the operation included
enforcement actions in seven cities, and led to the recovery of two children, who were being victimized through prostitution, and the arrests of 19
Additionally, 53 other
individuals were arrested on state and local charges.
"Child prostitution is a real threat to children across America, and
right here in Mississippi – not just in other countries," said Daniel McMullen,
Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. "Through Operation Cross Country, the FBI and
its partners in law enforcement emphasize their commitment to identifying and
rescuing any child who is being victimized in this heinous enterprise."
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National
Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI's Criminal Investigative
Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), to address the growing problem of
To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than
3,400 children from being exploited.
investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy
sentences, including 14 life terms.
Mississippi, participating in Operation Cross Country VII, recovered one
juvenile victim in 2013.
Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that
target truck stops, casinos, street "tracks," and websites that advertise
dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working
in their respective jurisdictions.
Initial arrests are often for violations of local and state laws
relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those
arrested frequently reveals organized efforts to prostitute women and children
across many states.
FBI agents further
develop this evidence in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Offices and the
U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that
prosecutors can bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution
The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law
enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the
country to NCMEC for training.
The FBI's Jackson Division thanks the local, state, and federal law
enforcement partners, representing thirteen separate agencies, who
participated in Operation Cross Country VIII in Mississippi, and commends their
ongoing enforcement efforts.
agencies are: Mississippi Attorney
General's Office Mississippi Bureau of
Narcotics Gautier, MS Police
Department Jackson, MS Police
Department Jackson County Sheriff's
Office Madison County Sheriff's
Office Moss Point, MS Police
Department Ocean Springs, MS Police
Department Pascagoula, MS Police
Department Pearl, MS Police
Department Rankin County Sheriff's
Office Ridgeland, MS Police Department Tupelo, MS Police Department
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