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18-month-old among 84 rescued during cross-country human trafficking sting

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana —  An 18-month-old in Baton Rouge and a 17-year-old high school student were among the 84 people rescued by the FBI as part of a three-day, cross-country human trafficking sting.

According to a news release from the FBI, 120 traffickers were arrested as part of Operation Cross Country XI, a nationwide effort focusing on underage human trafficking that ran from October 12-15.

In Louisiana, FBI Child Exploitation Task Forces in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport recovered one minor and arrested four traffickers.

In Baton Rouge, a mother who tried to sell herself for prostitution to an undercover agent had her 18-month-old baby with her. The mother was subsequently arrested. Law enforcement officers released the child to the Department of Children and Family Services.

In Shreveport, agents rescued a 17-year-old high school student who traveled approximately two hours to Shreveport to engage in prostitution.

Following her arrest, law enforcement contacted the juvenile’s family, provided victim services and offered assistance from local non-profit organizations.

This year’s Operation Cross Country involved 55 FBI field offices and 78 FBI-led Child Exploitation Task Forces composed of more than 500 law enforcement agencies. Hundreds of law enforcement personnel took part in sting operations in hotels, casinos, truck stops, and through social media sites frequented by pimps, prostitutes, and their customers.