FBI rescues more than 100 victims

Multiple cities across the U.S. - Under Operation Cross Country more than 100 victims of sex trafficking were rescued all across the United States. Operation Cross Country took place over 3 days with arrests of more than 159 traffickers in 76 cities across the United States. Many of these victims were found on the streets, in motels and casinos, and in some instances they were being sold through online sites. Many of the victims who were rescued included minors as young as 13 years old and as old as 16. 

While victims rescued included both boys and girls, the victims were overwhelmingly girls. The traffickers focused their targets primarily on girls using several forms of deception and grooming to lure them into sex trafficking. Many of the victims were found to be troubled teenagers who had come from broken homes, which made them easy targets for traffickers. Troubled youth will often find themselves looking for ways to survive in the streets and are easily lured with promises of any easy way to make a lot of money. Only after they are trapped in “the life” as it is called, through violence, do these girls find out none of the money is for them.

Shy and bashful girls are often lured by traffickers who endear themselves through a kind of attention and affection they have never experienced. Over time these traffickers become what these girls think is their boyfriend. These kinds of traffickers are often called “boyfriend pimps” or “romeo pimps.” Often this attention includes buying clothes and shoes for these girls. At some point spending money on her becomes a way to manipulate her to doing things for him.

"All trafficking begins with deception.
The best way to prevent someone from becoming a victim is to teach them to instantly recognize deception when it happens face-to-face and online."

Many of these victims once drawn into the life of sex trafficking often become entangled in a world of drugs, alcohol, and extreme measures of physical and mental abuse. Once they are entangled, it is almost impossible for them to escape due to fear, brainwashing, manipulation and coercion.

Because traffickers are so skillful at deceiving their targets, it is extremely important that we educate and empower our youth by providing strategies for prevention. To read more about the work we are doing to empower youth, you can visit us here.

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