The largest international sex trafficking and prostitution operation in the FBI’s history has led to the recovery of five trafficking victims and the arrests of 13 people in Missouri. Law enforcement rescued 123 children and arrested more than 200 traffickers and their associates as part of the international sting. Kansas City FBI division spokesperson Bridget Patton says no state is immune to this type of crime.
“Especially in the Midwest, people think we are in the Heartland, we are in the middle of America. This type of crime doesn’t happen here,” says Patton. “That is one of the reasons why we do this across the nation in a concentrated effort.”
The child victims rescued in Missouri range from 15 to 17 years old. The cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, North Kansas City and Independence were included in the operation. Locations like hotels and trucks stops were targeted.
“Every year the operation grows in size and support for this program,” says Patton. “The more bodies, the more we can do.”
The initiative included 55 FBI field offices and 74 Child Exploitation Task Forces representing more than 400 law enforcement organizations. Dozens of operations also occurred in Canada, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Two of the men arrested have been charged in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, MO with sex trafficking of three of the victims. Calvin Anthony Miller, 34, and Henry Dailey, 36, are in federal custody. One of their victims told law enforcement that she did not believe the police could provide enough security to protect her from “these guys.” She stated, “If I tell you anything he will kill me” and started crying.
“This is a horrific crime. This is a crime that preys on our most vulnerable and our most innocent,” says Patton. “This is something that is continually worked by the FBI throughout the year.”
This is the 10th operation of this nature that the FBI has led. The initiative, pegged as Operation Cross Country, began in 2003. Since its inception, there have been more than 6,100 child identifications and locations.