PHOENIX - The Federal Bureau of Investigations said Arizona law enforcement helped in a national human trafficking operation that resulted in the rescuing of 84 children and arrests of 120 traffickers.
Local and federal officials rescued four minors and arrested seven alleged traffickers in Arizona. Additionally, officials were able to contact 86 adult victims and offer them services.
Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking, ran from Oct. 12-15.
As part of Operation Cross Country XI, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and internet websites. It is a part of an initiative which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations, the FBI said.
“This crime has no boundaries and can impact any child, of any race or ethnicity, anywhere from large cities to small town communities," Michael Caputo, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Phoenix office, said in a release. "Initiatives like Operation Cross Country XI help spotlight the problem and send a message that we are committed to taking down those who prey on our country’s most innocent population.”
The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old.
Over 18 local and state agencies helped with this operation including Phoenix, Glendale, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler police departments.