FBI sex trafficking sweep locates 27 missing kids along Front Range

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A national FBI effort aimed at identifying and helping victims of sex trafficking recovered 11 child victims in Colorado during the first week of August, according to the FBI's Denver office.

The FBI Denver's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force worked with 41 agencies across the Front Range Aug. 4-6 in Operation Cross Country, a national, intelligence-driven FBI initiative focused on identifying and locating child victims of sex trafficking.

“No person, let alone a child, should ever be exploited as an item for sale,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “Child sex traffickers often prey upon our community's most vulnerable minors—runaways, foster kids, and victims of abuse. The traffickers promise their young victims they will receive care and support when that couldn't be further from the truth.”

Nationally, the effort helped locate and help 200 victims of child sex trafficking. The Denver Field Office located more victims than any other field office in the country, and we were tied for first in the number of subjects identified or arrested.

The FBI and state and local police recovered and provided services to 11 child victims of sexual exploitation. In addition, Colorado law enforcement and the FBI located 27 missing or endangered children and recovered 11 adult victims.

Upon recovery of one minor in Colorado, Narcan was administered following fentanyl use. In another instance, a three-month-old baby was recovered in a vehicle with a trafficker, while an adult victim was encountered.

The operation also investigated and arrested individuals and criminal enterprises involved in the sex trafficking of both children and adults. Six traffickers were identified in Colorado and two were arrested on unrelated felony warrants.

The permanent task force includes officers and attorneys from the Denver Police Department, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

For Operation Cross Country, the task force worked with the U.S. Marshalls, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the state patrol; human services departments in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson County; sheriffs departments in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, Jefferson, Routt and Weld County; the district attorney offices in the 17th, 18th and 20 judicial districts and 21 Front Range police departments from Colorado Springs to Greeley.

Two victim advocacy groups, From Silenced to Saved and Victim Outreach Inc., were also included in the task force.

“FBI Denver's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force will continue to do everything it can to ensure children recovered from this kind of exploitation receive the services they need to move forward with their lives.”

Since the inception of the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force in 2012, approximately 700 minors have been recovered. The task force receives between 40 and 50 tips every month from sources including state and national hotlines and our community partnerships.

child trafficking, sex trafficking, FBI, Operation Cross Country

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