33 Children Rescued in LA During Massive Child Sex Trafficking Bust
'Operation Lost Angels' sees suspected human trafficker in handcuffs
Authorities have taken down a massive child sex trafficking operation in Los Angeles, rescuing 33 children and placing at least one suspected human trafficker in handcuffs.
The missing children have been recovered as part of a multiple-agency effort dubbed "Operation Lost Angels," according to the FBI.
The task force behind the initiative involved teams from the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and more than two dozen local law enforcement agencies.
The operation was started on January 11 and seeks to target the networks of sex slavery that are plaguing the United States.
"The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims," said FBI Assistant Director Kristi Koons Johnson.
"While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock."
Two of the children were recovered multiple times while on the "track," a common term used to describe locations for commercial sex trafficking, the FBI shared in a release.
Several of the other victims found had been sexually exploited in the past and had been considered vulnerable missing children, prior to them being found.
According to authorities, eight of the rescued children were being sexually exploited at the time when they were recovered.
At least one suspected human trafficker was detained as a result of the operation.
Some of the minor victims were also found to be committing crimes such as robbery and some other misdemeanors.
One child had been a victim of a noncustodial parental kidnapping.
The FBI has seen an increased caseload for sex and labor trafficking-related crimes, compared to the last several years.
As of November 2020, there have been more than 1,800 pending trafficking investigations, including those that involved minors exploited through commercial sex trafficking.
There are currently 86 Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces ran by the FBI across the country
In 2020, 664 human trafficking investigations initiated by the FBI resulted in the arrest of 473 traffickers.