A nationwide crackdown on child trafficking recovered 12 victims and netted 54 arrests in Michigan, the FBI said Wednesday.
The Michigan arrests included eight sex traffickers and 46 other people allegedly involved, the FBI said in a news release.
The arrests and recoveries were part of a nationwide FBI operation, Operation Cross Country XI, which ran from Oct. 12-15, that recovered 84 children and captured 120 traffickers.
Fifty-five FBI offices, and 78 state and local task forces contributed nationally to the effort.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested — and the number of children recovered — reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI director Christopher Wray.
“This operation isn't just about taking traffickers off the street. It's about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse."
According to the release, FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops and on street corners and websites.
Nationally, the youngest victim recovered was 3 months old and the average age of recovered victims was 15.
Local police departments that contributed efforts included Michigan State Police, Detroit, Warren, Canton Township, Romulus, Huron Township, Roseville, Southfield, Livonia, Dearborn, Madison Heights, Flint, Flint Township, Grand Blanc and Saginaw Police.
FBI said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services helped child victims and with placement of the victims recovered during the operation. The Salvation Army also offered services in the community such as job training, housing, counseling, and medical and education assistance.
“The success of OCCXI in Michigan is due to the local, state and federal partners who share the same passionate commitment to disrupt and prevent the sexual exploitation of children and adults,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “While the recovery of exploited juvenile victims remains our priority, the FBI will continue to work tirelessly to rescue anyone being commercially trafficked and exploited”.