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Operation Cross Country X results announced by FBI, NCMEC

3 minors rescued across FBI Houston territory as part of operation

(Chris Turner/CNN)

HOUSTON – Domestically, 82 minors were rescued and 239 sex traffickers and their associates were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country X, authorities announced Tuesday.

Operation Cross Country X is an international effort focusing on underage human trafficking, which ran Thursday through Saturday.

FBI Director James Comey and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Director John Clark announced the results Tuesday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego.

"Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population," Comey said. "As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office of Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves."

Officials said across the FBI Houston territory, three minors were rescued and three traffickers and their associates were arrested as part of the nationwide operation's efforts.

The FBI partnered with personnel from multiple agencies to address child sex trafficking locally. Officials said recoveries and arrests were made in Harris and Fort Bend counties, but additional investigations are ongoing as a result of the operation.

A 15 year-old girl was rescued in Houston and prevented from engaging in a commercial sex act, officials said. Officers recognized the girl from an internet advertisement. The girl was offered counseling services and reunited with her family.

Officials said operations took place in a number of locations nationwide, including hotels, truck stops and street corners.

Minors recovered during an arrest are engaged with state protective services and victim assistance. Officials said depending on the level of need, a law enforcement officer and, if available, an FBI victim specialist will accompany the survivor to obtain the services.

Any adult arrested pursuant to state charges will be processed by state and local law enforcement partners assisting in Operation Cross Country, officials said.

"Child sex trafficking is a global problem and we must throw every resource we can at combating it," Clark said. "All of us at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are proud to work side by side with the FBI and their law enforcement partners as we work tirelessly every day to find and rescue child victims, and while ensuring that those responsible for this horrible crime are held accountable."

Tap or click here for more information about Operation Cross Country X and the Innocence Lost initiative.