A five-year-old and a three-month-old were recently rescued in Denver as part of the FBI’s Operation Cross Country XI sting against sex traffickers.
The two rescued girls are sisters and the alleged trafficker is a friend of the children’s family. The trafficker communicated with an undercover agent and made a deal to sell the sisters for sex for $600, the FBI said.
In addition to these two girls, the nationwide sweep also rescued more than 80 other underage victims.
The sting used a number of tactics, including finding trafficking victims online.
In once instance, a 16-year-old was rescued after being advertised online for “entertainment,” officials said. When an undercover agent responded to the ad, the girl was with a 21-year-old woman who offered the agent sexual intercourse with both her and the underage victim. The woman and the driver who took the minor and the 21-year-old to the undercover officer’s location were arrested, according to the FBI report.
The average age of victims recovered from this year’s Operation Cross Country is 15, according to the FBI. Sellers tried to pimp them at hotels, truck stops, or online.
The FBI also emphasized that the number of victims rescued in this operation speaks to how many more victims are out there.
"Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work," FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
Hotel brands can combat child sex trafficking at their properties by training their associates on the issue.
Members of the public can combat online sex trafficking by contacting their senators and expressing their support for the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.