Local Social Service Providers Work with Victims to Provide Assistance
The FBI, working with more than a dozen other local, state, and federal agencies in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, recovered three children this weekend who were being victimized through commercial sexual exploitation operations. The recoveries of the children and the associated arrests of adults happened during a series of stings throughout the region in recent days. Law enforcement and social service providers worked with each child—and when appropriate, the child’s family—to provide counseling, mental health services, medical assistance, housing, and advocacy resources to them.
“These are our kids. They belong to this community, and we are responsible for them,” said Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “We cannot and will not stand by and allow pimps to profit off them and ‘johns’ to use and abuse them.”
In recent years, Portland/Vancouver law enforcement and social service providers have established very strong working relationships that allow a holistic approach to addressing the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children. This includes integration of social services in law enforcement actions (such as this weekend’s sting operations), the sharing of information, and a coordination of services.
“The commercial sexual exploitation of our children is an affront to our community, and it must be stopped. To this end, my office is working with federal, state, and local officials, along with community and service organizations to find ways to meet the needs of these children for housing, security, and treatment while we hold pimps and johns accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “We have also expanded the resources and focus of our Anti-Gang prosecution unit to target the commercial sexual exploitation of children. With these combined efforts in place, we will be able to hold more traffickers accountable while helping more victims become survivors.”
During the course of this weekend’s enforcement action, local police charged six people as pimps with related crimes. In addition, local police cited three adults with prostitution.
The FBI coordinated these stings as part of Operation Cross Country VI—the sixth such national law enforcement action under the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. Nationwide, this operation recovered 79 children, and it included enforcement actions involving more than 8,500 local, state, and federal officers representing 414 separate agencies in 57 cities across the United States. Locally, the FBI would like to thank the following agencies and departments for taking part in the law enforcement portion of the sting:
■Portland Police Bureau
■Gresham Police Department
■Vancouver Police Department
■Beaverton Police Department
■Tigard Police Department
■Hillsboro Police Department
■Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
■Clark County Sheriff’s Office
■Washington Department of Corrections
■Clark County Juvenile Detention
■Oregon Department of Justice
■U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
■United States Attorney’s Office
■Metro Gang Task Force
■Innocence Lost Task Force
Task force operations such as this one usually begin as local actions, targeting such places as truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and Internet websites, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. (We will not release the specific locations or methods utilized in this local operation due to ongoing investigative interests.) As is the case in the Portland/Vancouver area, initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws related to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. As the FBI is able to develop this information into a broader criminal investigation, it works with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file federal charges where appropriate at a later time.
Social service and non-profit agencies who provided assistance during Operation Cross Country VI locally include:
■FBI Victim Assistance Program
■Clark County Juvenile Probation
■Multnomah County Department of Human Services
■Multnomah County Department of Community Justice
■Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office
■Portland Police Bureau Victim Services
■Sexual Assault Resource Center
■Washington County Department of Human Services
■Clackamas County Department of Human Services
■Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Child Protective Services
■United States Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance
The FBI would like to thank all law enforcement and social service provider agencies for taking part in Operation Cross Country VI and for their ongoing work under the Innocence Lost National Initiative.
The charges filed in this operation are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
If you suspect that a child is being sexually exploited, please call your nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency immediately.
For more information on the law enforcement and social service provider partnerships providing assistance to these victims, please visit www.fbi.gov/portland.