The Dallas/Fort Worth area recorded one of the highest number of child trafficking victims encountered in a just completed month-long operation across the nation, according to FBI officials.
This area was second behind Las Vegas in Operation Independence Day, a campaign by law enforcement agencies that targeted sex traffickers and the recovery of child victims.
Las Vegas encountered 14 children in July. The DFW area had nine identified and recovered child victims during the operation last month. Four other children in DFW were identified as victims.
Authorities arrested 11 people in the DFW area involved in sex trafficking.
The operation led by FBI officials and conducted in July resulted in the arrest of 67 suspected traffickers across the country and the identification and/or recovery of 103 juveniles.
Recovery is the removal of a child from trafficking, and a child is “identified” as a victim of sex trafficking is one who may not currently be in that situation, but one who has been a victim.
The nationwide operation included more than 400 law enforcement agencies.
“One of the FBI’s most important roles is to fight human trafficking,” said Matthew DeSarno, special agent in charge of the FBI Dallas office, in a news release. “Operation Independence Day demonstrates our commitment to recovering children and pursing the traffickers who are exploiting them for financial gain.”
The recovery of children has continued in North Texas.
Aubriana Recinos, who was believed to be in danger, was reportedly in safe condition.
Recinos and her mother, Carmen Lowe, 23, were both reported missing July 8, according to WNCN-TV. The Fayetteville Police Department in North Carolina said on Facebook as the missing persons investigation progressed, detectives learned Lowe might have taken Recinos out of North Carolina in direct violation of a custody order.
Police obtained a warrant to arrest Lowe on a charge of felony custody order violation. On Thursday, police said, the FBI was conducting a human trafficking sting operation in New Orleans when they located Lowe and arrested her.
Recinos was found Thursday in a Lewisville home of individuals involved in a human trafficking ring, Maj. Robert Ramirez told WNCN. The FBI was investigating the suspects, who had other children in addition to Recinos, Ramirez said.
He also told WNCN the child was “pretty much given to a pimp, an associate of a pimp or family of the pimp for keeping.” The involved individuals were reportedly not cooperating.
Arrests of suspected human traffickers also have continued this month.
On Wednesday, Brianna Lyles, 19, of Dallas, was booked into the Fort Worth Jail and faced charges of prostitution and human trafficking.
Fort Worth police did not provide any details on her arrest and case.
In the DFW area, some agencies involved in the July operation included Fort Worth police, agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Dallas police and police departments in Amarillo, Addison, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving, Plano and Richardson.
Other agencies involved included the Texas Department of Public Safety, Salvation Army, CASA Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.