The Silicon Valley Voice

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SCPD Works with FBI to Locate Missing Children

Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) was one of dozens of local agencies involved in a nationwide effort to identify and locate victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation. The national campaign, dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” found 84 minor victims and 37 actively missing children during a two-week effort in August.

Locally, FBI agents from the San Francisco Division worked with federal, state and local law enforcement partners and located 3 adult victims, arrested 3 suspects, and recovered 3 firearms during operations that ran from August 4-7, as well as August 11-14.  The FBI’s Victim Specialists were on hand for the operations conducted during this time and offered services to the recovered victims.

SCPD was one of the agencies working with the FBI San Francisco. Other than SCPD, the agencies involved in the operations included: San Jose Police Department, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Oakland Police Department, South San Francisco Police Department, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, San Bruno Police Department, Milpitas Police Department, US Probation Office, United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, Homeland Security Investigations, Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, Diplomatic Security Service.

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The FBI-led nationwide effort focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex trafficking and human trafficking.

In addition to the identification and location of adolescent victims, the FBI and its partners located 141 adult victims of human trafficking. Agents and investigators also identified or arrested 85 suspects with child sexual exploitation and human trafficking offenses. Those suspects identified will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges. The average age of victims located during this year’s Operation Cross Country was 15.5, while the youngest victim discovered was 11 years old.

“This operation not only resulted in the successful recovery of victims but in the arrests of suspected traffickers and the removal of guns off our Bay Area streets, making our community safer, ” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their collaboration on this effort and for their continuous dedication to protecting victims and combatting sex trafficking across our region.”

“Human trafficking is among the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Unfortunately, such crimes—against both adults and children—are far more common than most people realize. As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims and raise awareness of the exploitation our most vulnerable populations.”

As part of Operation Cross Country XII, FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, victim specialists, and child adolescent forensic Interviewers working in conjunction with over 200 state, local and federal partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted 391 operations over the two-week period.

Victim specialists provide a “bridge” for victims who are wary of the system, help the victim establish positive relationships with law enforcement, and ensure the human trafficking victim population receives any appropriate resources available to them. Victim specialists also provide services based on the individual needs of human trafficking victims, including crisis intervention, emergency food and clothing, transportation to receive emergency services, and locating shelter or housing. The task forces in the recent operation included federal, state, local and tribal partners, with efforts in every state and even a few U.S. territories.

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1 Comment
  1. XochilVeronica Rodriguez 1 month ago
    Reply

    God bless all of you I was recently a victim of a sexual crim & my heart goes out to the kids…

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