1 girl in Utah among several rescued during FBI’s national human trafficking sting operation

SALT LAKE CITY -- A three-day nationwide human trafficking sting operation concluded with the arrest of 239 pimps and other individuals and the rescue of 82 juveniles, including a girl found in Utah.

This is the fourth time the Utah FBI office has participated in Operation Cross County along with Utah’s Child Exploitation Task Force.

During a press conference Monday, Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart called those pimping out children evil incarnate. He said Operation Cross Country is a three-day sting that rescues victims from slavery and in some cases sexual slavery.

Operation Cross Country has conducted 10 stings, however, Barnhart said, this is only the fourth time the Utah FBI office has participated in a sting.

“First we need to recognize that the problem exists,” Barnhart said.

He added the entire FBI is constantly working on cases of human trafficking. He says it is a problem that continues to grow, not only here in the U.S. but around the world as well.

Operation Cross Country has expanded to become an international enforcement effort with Canada, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand.