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HSI Phoenix helps identify and locate sex-trafficked minors

Human RightsHSI Phoenix helps identify and locate sex-trafficked minors

PHOENIX, Ariz. — HSI Phoenix and other law enforcement agencies identified and located five minor sex trafficking victims as part of Operation Cross Country, a nationwide enforcement campaign. During the operation, authorities arrested one alleged trafficker and 31 additional subjects for allegedly attempting to have sexual contact with minors.

“These dedicated professionals who worked on this operation demonstrate honor, service and integrity,” said HSI Arizona Special Agent in Charge Scott Brown. “Many have dedicated their careers to keeping our communities safe, holding accountable those who exploit our most vulnerable, and seeking justice for victims of unthinkable crimes. HSI is proud to partner with federal, state, local and international law enforcement in furthering investigations into people who are knowingly and willingly exploiting children for their perverse desires.”

The nationwide initiative, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, focused on identifying and locating sex trafficking victims. It also focuses on investigating criminal enterprises and people involved in child sex and human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies conducted targeted operations to identify and apprehend offenders, dismantle criminal networks and prevent further harm to victims. Identified suspects will be subject to additional investigation for potential charges.

The FBI’s Greater Phoenix Area Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which conducted the operation, comprises officers from the Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix and Tempe police departments. The task force received help from HSI special agents and Scottsdale and Surprise police.

Though Operation Cross Country is an annual national initiative, the Greater Phoenix Area Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force works with the Phoenix Police Department’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit throughout the year. With its leadership, the Phoenix Police HEAT Unit and the task force routinely collaborate on human trafficking operations with other law enforcement agencies across the greater Phoenix area.

HSI, a leader in the global fight against human trafficking and child exploitation, encourages the public to help identify and recover victims and bring perpetrators to justice.

HSI special agents utilize their broad range of authority and international footprint to identify, investigate and disrupt domestic and transnational criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking. Further, HSI special agents work closely with the HSI’s Victim Assistance Program to ensure that human trafficking and child exploitation victims are afforded their rights and have access to the services to which they are entitled by law.

You may report crimes, suspicious activity and suspected human trafficking to the HSI Tipline at 866-347-2423. You may also contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST to report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 to connect human trafficking victims and survivors with critical support and services.

Additional resources:

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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