The FBI announced on Monday that a nationwide operation aimed at hunting down and rescuing the victims of child sex and human trafficking, dubbed “Operation Cross Country,” has already rescued over 121 minors and 141 adults within the span of two weeks. 

The operation, which took over two weeks of preparation with multiple agencies like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, branched out to 391 different operations where they were able to identify 85 suspects of child sexual or human exploitation, according to Axios

Once executed, the FBI, with cooperation from other agencies across the United States, was able to rescue over 121 minors who were victims of child sex trafficking, as well as 141 adults who were victims of human trafficking, a DOJ report said. 

“I am grateful to the dedicated professionals of the FBI and our law enforcement partners across the country for their tireless work to rescue trafficking survivors, including exploited children, to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of trafficking crimes, and to provide the services and support that survivors need and deserve,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. 

Victim specialists have been made available to those who were rescued to help them access proper service,  as well as establish positive relationships with the law enforcement officers who helped them. Reportedly, the average age of those rescued is 15.5 year old, with the youngest victim being 11 years old. 

“Human trafficking is among the most heinous crimes the FBI encounters,” FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Unfortunately, such crimes—against both adults and children—are far more common than most people realize. As we did in this operation, the FBI and our partners will continue to find and arrest traffickers, identify and help victims, and raise awareness of the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations.”

“This national operation highlights the need for all child serving professionals to continue to focus on the wellbeing of children and youth to prevent them being targeted in the first place,” Michelle DeLaune from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said.

maria-oswalt-ugo9KyRK3dU-unsplash The FBI's Operation Cross Country, which targets the victims of child sex and human trafficking schemes, was reported on Monday to have rescued over 121 children and 141 adults during a two week period. This is a representational image. Maria Oswalt/Unsplash.