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Sacramento County DA working with state and federal agencies to recover human trafficking victims

By Robert “Doc” Souza, Elk Grove Laguna Forums

The Sacramento County District Attorney issues a press release regarding Operation Cross Country

Sacramento Together’s “Operation Cross Country” Results in Recovery of Human Trafficking Victims, Arrest of Exploiters

The FBI, working with its state and local partners, identified and located 200 victims of sex trafficking during a nationwide enforcement campaign, called “Operation Cross Country.” Through targeted operations and collaborative efforts, Operation Cross Country achieved significant milestones in recovering victims, apprehending offenders, and raising public awareness about these heinous crimes during its 2-week operation in July.

The operation led to the location of 59 minor victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses and located 59 actively missing children.  It also resulted in the identification or arrest of 126 suspects of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses and 68 suspects of trafficking were identified or arrested.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office along with its Sacramento Together Human Trafficking Task Force partners participated in this nationwide operation, with the following results:

Number of Operations: 4

Juveniles Recovered: 2

Potential Adult Human Trafficking Victims Offered Services: 12+

Exploiters Arrested: 5

Other Exploiters Identified: 2

Other Arrests: 1 adult male for concealing a firearm

This nationwide operation, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex and human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies conducted targeted operations to identify and apprehend offenders, dismantling criminal networks and preventing further harm to victims. Those suspects identified will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges.

A multidisciplinary team (MDT), to include victim specialists, child/adolescent forensic interviewers, and other victim service personnel, in addition to special agents, ensures a victim-centered, culturally responsive, trauma-informed investigative response. The FBI MDT works with state and local partners to make resources available to meet the unique needs of trafficking victims.

Victim specialists provide services based on the individual needs of human trafficking victims, to include crisis intervention, emergency food and clothing, transportation to receive emergency services, and locating shelter or housing. The victim specialists also serve as conduit between the victims and the investigative team to help ensure they are receiving case updates, as appropriate.

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento Together Human Trafficking Task Force remain committed to combatting child exploitation and human trafficking. Operation Cross Country is just one of many efforts being made to protect the most vulnerable members of society and hold offenders accountable. Other efforts include raising awareness about how the public can help identify and recover victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

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