ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix FBI agents find 17 human trafficking victims as part of Operation Cross Country

Aug 15, 2022, 3:00 PM

FBI agents in Chattanooga, Tennessee, plan out Operation Cross Country investigative activities....

FBI agents in Chattanooga, Tennessee, plan out Operation Cross Country investigative activities. (FBI Photo)

(FBI Photo)

PHOENIX – FBI agents based in Phoenix located more than a dozen adult victims of human trafficking last week as part of a nationwide enforcement campaign called Operation Cross Country, authorities said Monday.

Federal agents worked with the Phoenix Police Department’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit to identify 17 adult victims Tuesday-Friday, according to the FBI’s Phoenix field office.

Although Operation Cross Country XII focused on victims of child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation offenses, authorities located 141 adult victims of human trafficking across the U.S. during the two-week campaign.

The FBI said it identified and located 84 minor victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation and found 37 missing children over the course of the operation. Of the minor victims, the average age was 15.5 and the youngest was 11.

More than 200 state, local and federal partners conducted 391 operations as part of Operation Cross Country.

While the Phoenix office didn’t find any minor victims last week, local FBI agents have recovered more than 15 missing adolescents in 2022.

“Human trafficking is among the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a press release. “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 of our most vulnerable populations.”

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Phoenix FBI agents find 17 human trafficking victims as part of Operation Cross Country