FBI Rescues 168 Children In Nationwide Sex Trafficking Crackdown
The operation was the eighth of its kind, with nearly 3,600 children rescued from sex slavery since the annual crackdowns began.
“There is no more meaningful work that the FBI participates in than rescuing children,” said FBI Director James Comey.
“These are not faraway kids in faraway lands. These are America’s children,” added Comey.
The rescued children had been trafficked on the streets of America’s cities, at highway truck stops and on the Internet.
John Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told the AP that many of the victims had never been reported missing.
“No one is reporting them missing. Hence, no one is looking for them,” said Ryan. “But for operations like this, these children likely would never have been found.”
According to the US State Department, human trafficking is the world’s second-largest criminal enterprise, after drugs. UNICEF estimates the global child trafficking market to be worth $12 billion annually.
In the United States, it is estimated that 200,000 children are at risk of sex trafficking, with an additional 14,500 to 17,500 foreigners trafficked into the US each year.