11 trafficked children rescued in Mid-Michigan, 8 pimps identified
A national crackdown on human trafficking led to more than 100 arrests of alleged traffickers, according to the FBI.
The FBI said its efforts also allowed them to recover and rescue almost 100 children exploited across the country.
Detective Trooper Rick Jones with the Michigan State Police, who assisted in these efforts, said they recovered 19 vulnerable and missing children between Genesee and Saginaw County.
Jones said 11 of them were exploited, possibly trafficked.
He said they also identified eight possible pimps in the area.
Local experts said it may seem scary that something as horrible as this is happening so close to home.
But they also said it's promising.
"Initially terror and concern for all of the victims," Angela Aday with the Underground Railroad said. "But then... also I felt sort of a sense of joy in a way because it's a really big bust and right now it's really difficult for human trafficking... the actual traffickers... to get prosecuted because the victims aren't telling."
She said the FBI and other police agencies did a great job, but the public needs to do a better job.
Aday said to look for signs.
She said some signs may include the following: human trafficking victim may have cuts and bruises, poor eye contact and the inability to speak for themselves.
She said if you suspect someone may be a victim, to report it to police.
The FBI said Wednesday that the national crackdown involved 55 FBI field offices.
The youngest victim recovered was 3 months old and the average age of recovered victims was 15.
FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos and truck stops, on street corners and on websites.