Numerous people in North Dakota and other states are accused by law enforcement of sex crimes, whether or not they actually committed the act. These allegations are very serious, since they can result in lifelong consequences. Child sexual abuse is a severe crime, but many people are falsely accused of something they did not do.

The sexual exploitation of children is said to be a widespread epidemic affecting every state, the full ramifications which authorities may never know. Recently, the FBI conducted a sting operation with about 500 other law enforcement agencies, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The endeavor, called Operation Cross Country, resulted in the rescue of 149 sexually exploited minors and the arrests of 150 alleged pimps and others said to be involved in the child trafficking industry.

The FBI claimed that this year, the operation’s ninth in action, resulted in more arrests and rescues than any other year. Exploited children were recovered in over 135 cities across the United States. Authorities report that most children who are targeted for sexual exploitation include runaways, victims of abuse or trauma, those in the child welfare system or those addicted to substances. The trafficking industry is reportedly becoming more technologically sophisticated, with many children being marketed through social media and apps.

The FBI has recovered approximately 4,800 sexually exploited minors and convicted about 2,000 alleged sex criminals since 2003. As heinous as child sex trafficking is, it is important to remember that anyone accused of a crime is entitled to fair treatment in court.

Source: The Huffington Post, “149 Child Sex Trafficking Victims Rescued In Nationwide Sting,” Andy Campbell, Oct. 14, 2015