The FBI launched the ‘Operation Cross Country’ initiative over a decade ago to combat what they claimed was a rising tide of human trafficking, but according to the numbers, the operation has been ineffective and now the Bureau is now re-evaluating it.
The numbers provided to Fox News’ Investigative Unit through a Freedom of Information Act showed only 1374 individual arrests of traffickers have been made since Operation Cross Country began in 2007.
Perhaps more troubling is the fact that fewer than 1,000 juvenile victims have been rescued and recovered.
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, over 300,000 young Americans are considered “at risk” for sexual exploitation — which means that nothing has actually happened to them, only that arbitrary factors pulled out of the air by paid anti-trafficking advocates and zealots apply to them.
“Things like Operation Cross Country are huge uses of resources and the numbers they come out with as far as who is rescued are small compared to overall numbers of traffickers,” Christa Daring, Executive Director of Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP) told Fox News, adding that their organization advocates for the decriminalization of sex work to combat trafficking.
In the years since Operation Cross Country began, with FBI agents working with local law enforcement in various cities across the U.S. to coordinate sting operations, yearly arrests have not gone above the 300 mark. The initiative hit its highest number of traffickers apprehended during 2014’s Operation Cross Country VIII with 281 arrested. The highest number of juveniles recovered from the stings occurred the same year, when 169 were rescued.
Since then, the numbers of arrests and recoveries have fluctuated, with the biggest drops occuring between 2016 and 2017, with arrests dropping nearly 50 percent from 239 to 120.
The Bureau did not conduct the operation in 2018, according to FBI sources who spoke with Fox News, saying that they are trying to re-evaluate the program to see what improvements could be made.
Operation Cross Country XI recovered 84 minors in 2017. The focus of the operation was specifically on underage victims. Critics of the effort say the sting operations needlessly sweep up willing and consensual sex workers, charging them with felonies and further perpetuating a lifestyle of crime. Still, few argue with the necessity of pulling teens from a life of rape and abuse.
“There is very little to no trust among sex workers towards police because police not only take away the liberty and movement of sex workers but across the country are willing to be physically and sexually violent towards sex workers,” SWOP’s Daring told Fox News.
“As long as you’re criminalizing people doing sex work, you’re going to continue to see people exploited in the industry,” they added.