Eighty-four children were rescued — including one as young as 3 months old — and 120 human traffickers were arrested in a nationwide undercover operation that involved a Myrtle Beach hotel.
In South Carolina, the three-day operation Oct. 12-15 focused on undercover stings in Myrtle Beach and Columbia.
Three women were arrested and charged with prostitution last week in a joint FBI/Myrtle Beach Police Department operation at the Hilton Garden Inn near Coastal Grand Mall.
Capt. David Knipes with MBPD said the arrests came as part of the FBI’s operation on the evening of Oct. 13.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation led Operation Cross Country XI in 55 FBI field offices across the country with the help of 78 state and local task forces and five international partners hailing from Canada, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines, according to Wednesday’s news release.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested — and the number of children recovered — reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the release. “This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops, as well as on street corners and websites, according to the release. The youngest victim recovered during this year’s operation was 3 months old, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old, the release stated.