LAS VEGAS (AP) — All through July, the FBI and its partners zeroed in on rescuing children and arresting sex trafficers as a part of “Operation Independence Day.”
The FBI says it found 14 teenagers who agents believe were sex trafficking victims in Las Vegas, where 33 adults were arrested during a push in July to identify and arrest sex traffickers nationwide.
The figures reported by the bureau on Tuesday put southern Nevada atop the list of 33 FBI field offices in the number of juveniles given help and counseling to escape victimization or deal with prior abuse.
Dallas was next in the number of juveniles recovered and identified, with 13. Detroit had 9. Seattle and Atlanta each had 6.
Nationwide, the agency reports it recovered or identified 103 children last month who are young runaways, missing kids, or juveniles who may have been subjected to human trafficking.
“We are here to rescue children,” said Jeannette Milazzo, FBI special agent, “And we are here to build good cases atgainst traffickers.
“If we have developed enough rapport with the victim, we will build a case against their trafficker and hopefully charge them in federal court,” she said.
Officers and agents scoured social media and escort websites as well as simply hitting the streets.
The effort also led to 67 arrests, and the opening of 60 new federal investigations.
More than 400 law enforcement agencies nationwide were involved in the monthlong operation, including several in Southern Nevada.