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3 from Hampton Roads arrested in nationwide FBI sex trafficking sting

The FBI found 84 victims of child sex exploitation and 37 actively missing children as part of "Operation Cross Country," federal authorities said.

VIRGINIA, USA — This week, the FBI and Department of Justice revealed the outcome of an initiative to crack down on crimes involving child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. "Operation Cross Country" spanned two weeks in August.

Dozens of children are safe after a nationwide sex trafficking sting conducted by the FBI, along with state and local partners. 

They set out the goal of finding victims of child sex trafficking and human trafficking. Under "Operation Cross Country," they also wanted identify people committing those crimes.

Authorities nationwide found and identified 84 victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Their ages averaged at 15.5, according to the FBI. The youngest survivor was 11 years old. Law enforcement also located 37 missing children.

In Hampton Roads, leaders with the FBI said agents from the Norfolk Division worked with the Chesapeake and the Virginia Beach Police Departments.

Special Agent in Charge Brian Dugan wrote in part, "Norfolk's operations took place over 3 days, and we arrested 3 suspects. Our team is small, but we pack a big punch... "

That particular operation ran from August 4 to 7. An FBI Norfolk spokesperson said the three suspects arrested in the Hampton Roads area are charged in connection to child exploitation.


Nationwide, authorities took custody of 85 suspects charged with child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

No names have been released, at this time. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed his gratitude to everyone who put in their "tireless work to rescue trafficking survivors, including exploited children, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of trafficking crimes..."

"Operation Cross Country" also included the recovery of 141 adult victims of human trafficking.

The sting took teamwork with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. In all, authorities carried out nearly 400 operations in the two-week time span.

Survivors also receive help through victim specialists. They help by bridging resources and emergency services, like crisis intervention, food, clothing and housing.

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