The FBI said Wednesday it has rescued a 15-year-old Long Island girl who was a victim of the sex-trafficking of underage children and returned her to her guardian.
The girl, who was not identified, was rescued as part of a nationwide FBI program called Operation Cross Country XI that occurred from last Thursday through Sunday, officials said.
She was located in Central Islip.
A 17-year-old White Plains girl was also rescued and returned to her guardian as part of the operation in the metropolitan area. Officials said the FBI program nationally is designed to focus attention and raise awareness about sex trafficking “in our local communities.” The 17-year-old girl also was not identified.
As part of the operation, the FBI said in a news release, FBI agents and the NYPD also arrested six suspects for facilitating sex trafficking, as well as two men for attempting to pay for sex with a minor, and 14 men who attempted to pay for sex with adults.
In addition, investigators encountered 28 women in the sex trade who were offered assistance in obtaining “safe shelter, food, clothing and access to physical and mental health care,” the release said.
The head of the FBI New York office, William F. Sweeney, said in a statement: “As a father, it is hard to comprehend why anyone looks at a child and sees a method to make money, let alone selling them from sex.”
“These pimps arrested in this operation, and the cases we investigate each and every day, force these girls into an ugly and demeaning life they don’t understand and can’t escape” Sweeney continued. “We know we won’t ever be able to eradicate the problem, but our Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force won’t ever give up doing everything we can to save children from the clutches of despicable criminals.”