The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and several international law enforcement partners, rescued 82 minors and arrested 239 traffickers and their associates in operations carried out in the Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia.
The arrests were made under Operation Cross Country, an international effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 13 to 16, 2016.
In the Philippines, using information from the FBI, law enforcers recovered two boys, aged 5 and 11, and a two-year-old girl. Authorities arrested five adults who ran a web-streaming service for individuals who would pay for access to livestreaming sexual abuse, as well as access to the children for the purpose of illegal sexual acts.
“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seek to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” FBI Director James Brien Comey said. “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”
Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,000 child identifications and locations.