Several days ago, a human trafficking sting in Detroit put 12 suspected pimps behind bars. But that was just a portion of those arrested in the nationwide operation, entitled “Operation Cross Country IX.” It freed over a hundred juveniles and put as many pimps behind bars.
According to a press release from the FBI, they worked in concert with local and state police agencies all over the country. It was a week-long human trafficking sting operation. The goal was to free as many juveniles from forced prostitution as possible. The annual effort, which takes months to plan, allows all law enforcement agencies to join forces with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in order to bring about positive change. Thus far, this is the ninth annual sting operation. This one was by far the largest.
Here in Michigan, a total of 19 girls, ranging in age from 12 to 17 were rescued in the human trafficking sting. The FBI, working together with the Michigan State Police and more than a dozen local police departments, rescued girls from hotel rooms in the Metro Detroit Area. Their living conditions were said to be deplorable; the rooms full of guns, drugs, teenager’s clothing, and condoms.
Many human trafficking victims are controlled with drug addiction
The girls come from all over Michigan, including Detroit, Madison Heights, Ferndale, Kalamazoo, Warren, Dearborn, and several other locations across the state. No information was given regarding what the state intends to do with the girls. Many human trafficking victims are controlled with drug addiction. In addition to intensive therapy for the sexual and psychological abuse they have allegedly suffered, many will need substance abuse therapy as well.
Detroit was considered one of the most successful locations, as it had the second highest number of those rescued in the national human trafficking sting operation. A total of 149 underaged girls were rescued nationally. Nineteen of them from Detroit. Also, the total number of pimps arrested was 150, twelve of whom came from the Detroit sting.
Involved in Michigan’s wing of Operation Cross Country IX, were a total of 14 local law enforcement agencies who partnered with the FBI Detroit Field Office. Included were SEMCAC (Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force), Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department, Southfield Police Department, Livonia Police Department, Dearborn Police Department, Roseville Police Department and Romulus Police Department. Working with these agencies were the Sheriff’s Departments of Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Kent County, Macomb County, Ottawa County, and the Michigan Department of Corrections.