LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (FBI) -- During the past week, the FBI, its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners throughout the United States conducted Operation Cross Country 8 to address commercial child sex trafficking. The operation included enforcement actions in seven cities throughout the state of Arkansas and led to the recovery of two juveniles who were being victimized through prostitution and led to the arrest of six pimps. Additionally, 36 adult prostitutes were arrested in these efforts to rescue victims of child exploitation and/or human trafficking.
"Child prostitution and human trafficking exists in Arkansas as it does across our country," said David Resch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Arkansas. "Sex trafficking of children offends our most basic instincts and strikes at our fundamental responsibility to protect our most innocent from the most despicable. We at the FBI are proud of the work our partners across Arkansas perform each day to protect our children. We appreciate their efforts with us on Operation Cross Country 8. This fight continues and we ask that all Arkansans join us and immediately report information about victims and human trafficking by calling 1-800-CALL FBI (1-800-225-5324)."
Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas stated, "We remain dedicated to identifying children who have been forced into prostitution and exposed to horrendous situations. There is no higher priority in our office than crimes against children, and we will do all we can to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law."
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.
To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.
The FBI thanks the local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who participated in Operation Cross Country 8 and their ongoing enforcement efforts. The following law enforcement agencies participated in this operation: Benton Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department, Fort Smith Police Department, Hot Springs Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Rogers Police Department, Pulaski Country Sheriff's Office, Washington County Sherriff's Office, Arkansas State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, National Park Service, and the U.S. Attorneys Offices in the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.