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Operation Targeting Child Sex Trafficking Results in 10 Children Rescued,
100 Suspects Arrested in Wisconsin
MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to announce that more than 15 special agents with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) -- in cooperation with other local law enforcement – participated in a large-scale, FBI-led child sex trafficking operation known nationwide as “Operation Cross Country VII.” The Wisconsin portion of the three-day long operation was conducted in the areas of Milwaukee, Madison/Wisconsin Dells and the Fox Valley. Ten children were rescued; 100 suspects were arrested in Wisconsin as part of the sweep. With ten children rescued in Wisconsin, the state is third in the nation.
“Children rescued as a result of these types of operations are often vulnerable and have been misled with promises of food, shelter and a future, and often times, love, only to be ensnared into a life of isolation, intimidation, violence and sex trafficking,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “I’m extremely thankful to the FBI for its leadership and all of our outstanding local law enforcement partners because without their commitment and cooperation, we wouldn’t be able to hold suspected traffickers accountable and rescue their victims. We know child sex trafficking occurs in Wisconsin, and with newly added resources, we want those looking to prostitute children to know that their organized crime won’t be tolerated here.”
During last year’s “Operation Cross Country” nationwide sweep, in which DCI also assisted, six children were rescued and nearly 60 individuals were arrested in Wisconsin.
As part of the 2013-2015 biennial budget, the DOJ -- at its request – will receive an additional three special agents and two criminal analysts within the DCI for the purpose of addressing child sex trafficking specifically. These additional resources will allow for a greater emphasis on this problem and future large-scale operations.
In addition to the FBI and DCI, the following agencies and organizations also participated in Operation Cross Country: Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department, Appleton Police Department, Baraboo Police Department, Fond du Lac Police Department, Fox Valley Metro Police Department, Grand Chute Police Department, Lake Delton Police Department, Oak Creek Police Department, Oshkosh Police Department, West Allis Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children & Adults, and Project Respect (Madison).
Please refer to the criminal complaint for each case for more information. Defendants enjoy the presumption of innocence. The prosecution must prove its allegations at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
Any media requesting an interview about DCI’s assistance in this matter should contact Dana Brueck at 608-266-1221.