KANSAS CITY —The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have announced that 84 minors were recovered and 120 traffickers arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI. It was a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15.
Over the course of those four days the FBI Kansas City Division, along with its local, state and federal law enforcement partners conducted the operation in 10 cities throughout areas in Kansas and Missouri, according to a media release.
The results of the combined operation led to the recovery of three minors ranging in age from 16 to 17 and the arrest of 10 traffickers.
Junction City Police Chief Dan Breci confirmed his department assisted the FBI in the human trafficking operation last Friday night in Junction City. “They set up at a local hotel, last count I saw was 30 plus people from around the state including Junction City, Grandview Plaza, Geary County SO, and FBI agents out of Kansas City and their task force. From my understanding they did this operation in several cities, and while here they arrested six individuals last Friday.” Breci confirmed there were various charges against those arrested, ‘but they all had to do with the sex trade. ”
Geary County Sheriff Tony Wolf said his department supported the entire operation with a couple of deputies from the Sheriff’s Department assisting in the investigation. “It was kind of like a prostitution sting situation where individuals were caught that were soliciting the sexual favors from minors.”
The 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country included 55 FBI field officers and involved 78 state and local forces across the nation, including hundreds of law enforcement partners. There were coordinated operations with international partners including Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines.
As part of the operation, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops as well as on street corners and internet websites. The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was three months old, and the average age of victims recovered was 15 years old.
Multiple law enforcement agencies partnered with the FBI Kansas City during Operation Cross Country XI including those from Kansas City, Independence, Lee Summit, Riverside and North Kansas, Missouri plus Overland Park, Olathe, Topeka and Wichita.