SPOKANE, Wash. – A law enforcement operation is cracking down on juvenile prostitution and human trafficking in our area.
Local law enforcement and federal agents teamed up for what is called, Operation Cross Country. It is a national initiative that targets juvenile human trafficking victims.
It is a problem that is hard to track but one that unfortunately exists in the Spokane area. Christian Parker with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said although law enforcement is always working to rescue juvenile victims Operations like Cross Country help narrow in on the issue and bring more awareness to what is going on.
“There are operations going on all year and Operation Cross Country is an opportunity for law enforcement across the country to participate in these events and to get everybody kind of with the same focus at the same time,” said Parker.
FBI leaders said operations like this are very manpower intensive and take a lot of resources. But, focusing in on the problem leads to more arrests because suspects often travel from city to city.
“The people who are involved in this the victims and the perpetrators travel around and so where they might be in Spokane one day they might be in Seattle the next day or the next week and so and so as we have everybody focusing their efforts at the same time they kind of able to cast a wide net,” said Parker.
Just this week, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office arrested Christopher Morgan for prostitution charges dating back to October 2015, which was the first time law enforcement in Spokane participated in Operation Cross Country. FBI leaders said they are currently looking into participating in the operation again in 2016 to help rescue even more victims.
Before the operation in 2015, the FBI brought officers over from Seattle from the Child Exploitation Task Force to train law enforcement in the Inland Northwest on the best ways to combat juvenile human trafficking.