A 16-year-old Westchester girl was saved from sex traffickers during the FBI's Operation Cross Country X, an international effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from Oct. 13 to 15, FBI officials said.
The White Plains girl was recovered along with a 16-year-old New York City teen, according to the FBI.
One of the girls has been trafficked by pimps since she was 13 years old, the FBI added.
Eight pimps were arrested locally, officials said.
“The children we recovered in these operations were led to believe no one in the world cares about them, that no one is going to look for them if they disappear," said William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge of the New York FBI. "Operation Cross Country keeps the issue of child sex trafficking in the public’s view because it so often happens without anyone seeing it. We have a responsibility to protect these children, forced by threats and violence to survive in a depraved and vicious adult world."
The operation took place across the country, and for the first time in its 10-year history, in several countries around the world. Law enforcement partners from Cambodia, Canada, the Philippines and Thailand had operations in their respective countries.
Operations took place in a number of locations, including hotels, truck stops, and street corners.
Minors recovered during an arrest are engaged with state protective services and victim assistance. Depending on the level of need, a law enforcement officer and, if available, an FBI victim specialist accompany the survivor to obtain these services, said FBI Public Affairs Specialist Amy Thoreson.
Operation Cross Country X is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative, which began in 2003. These teams work all year to recover child trafficking victims. Since the inception of the program, there have been more than 6,100 child rescues.
The New York FBI worked with officials from the NYPD, Yonkers Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Westchester Police Department, Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, Clarkstown Police Department, Greenburgh Police Department, and the Nassau County Police Department, during the operation.
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