Two Juveniles Mississippi Operation targeting child sex traffick - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

2 Mississippi children discovered in operation targeting Child Sex Trafficking

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

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 pimps. 

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 child prostitution.

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,400 children from being exploited. 

The 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 occurs.

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. 

Those 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 

To learn more about Operation Cross Country and the Innocence Lost National Initiative, visit www.fbi.gov, www.justice.gov, or www.ncmec.org.

Copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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