Kids Not Reported Missing Rescued in FBI Bust

Operation Cross Country cracks down on child-sex trafficking

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 23, 2014 7:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – The FBI arrested 281 pimps and rescued 168 child victims of sex trafficking in a nationwide sting last week—the agency's eighth annual crackdown on the child sex trade, CBS News reports. The operation across 106 cities aimed to rescue child sex workers from casinos, truck stops, street corners, and more than ever before from online trade, reports the AP. "These are not faraway kids in faraway lands," FBI Director James Comey said in announcing the operation's results. "These are America's children."

One impediment to the FBI's job: Many of those rescued hadn't been reported missing. "But for operations like this, these children likely would never have been found," said John Ryan, head of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He said states need better laws to make child welfare services report missing children. For now, there's the FBI's annual sweep—called Operation Cross Country—which has thus far led to 14 life sentences, 1,450 convictions, and seized over $3.1 million in assets, USA Today reports. (See the results of last year's operation.)

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI.
FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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