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Saturday, October 24, 2015
FBI: Operation Northern Spotlight - American-Canadian Partnership Combats Human Trafficking
The FBI website offers the below report:
The FBI joined law enforcement officials from across Canada in Toronto yesterday to announce the results of Operation Northern Spotlight, a human trafficking investigation that led to the recovery of 20 sexually exploited juveniles and the arrests of numerous individuals.
The Canadian operation—carried out by 40 police agencies and hundreds of law enforcement officers—was conducted as a parallel action with the FBI’s Operation Cross Country, the results of which were announced earlier this month.
“Human trafficking investigations are complex and labor intensive, but entirely necessary,” said Scott Tod, deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). He noted that human trafficking victims are often from susceptible populations, including immigrants, migrant workers, and at-risk youth. “And human trafficking victims rarely identify themselves to authorities,” he said.
“Human trafficking is a very serious criminal threat that often targets the most vulnerable—our children,” added Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. The collaboration between U.S. and Canadian law enforcement to fight trafficking, he explained, is essential.
Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. Since its creation in 2003, the Innocence Lost program has resulted in the identification and recovery of approximately 4,800 sexually exploited children. And prosecutors have obtained more than 2,000 convictions of pimps and others associated with these trafficking crimes.
Scott Tod, deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (left) and Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, stressed the importance of collaboration in fighting human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
During last year’s Operation Cross Country, Campbell said, “I met with our Canadian law enforcement partners, and we agreed that this mission was so critical and important that it should be a unified effort between our two countries.”
That collaboration resulted in parallel enforcement actions that took place across the U.S. and Canada in early October, with both countries sharing intelligence and best practices to run successful operations that led to the recovery of child victims from truck stops, hotels, clubs, and casinos. The Canadian effort led to charges against 47 individuals and the recovery of victims who were mostly under the age of 19—some as young as 14.
Yesterday’s press conference in Toronto included law enforcement personnel from OPP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa Police Service, and numerous other Canadian law enforcement agencies. Also on hand were representatives from a child advocacy center and a recovered victim of the sex trade who now advocates on behalf of those who are trafficked and sexually exploited.
“It is vitally important that we continue to mobilize to raise awareness about human trafficking and to enhance public safety at the community level,” Tod said.
Campbell agreed. “Operation Cross Country and Operation Northern Spotlight are so important because they maximize the impact in combating the threat and they draw attention to this serious problem. I am proud to stand here today with my Canadian partners.”
Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime. He has written extensively about organized crime, cyber crime, street crime, white collar crime, crime fiction, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. His 'On Crime' column appears weekly in the Washington Times and his 'Crime Beat' column appears in Philadelphia Weekly. He is also a regular contributor to Counterterrorism magazine and writes their online "Threatcon" column. His work has also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and other publications. As a writer, he has attended police academy training, gone out on patrol with police officers, accompanied detectives as they worked cases, accompanied narcotics officers on drug raids, observed criminal court proceedings, visited jails and prisons, and covered street riots, mob wars and murder investigations. He has interviewed police chiefs, FBI, DEA and other federal agents, prosecutors, public officials, Navy SEALs and other military special operators, Israeli commandos, British Scotland Yard detectives, CIA officers, journalists, novelists and true crime authors, and Cosa Nostra organized crime bosses. Paul Davis has been a student of crime since he was an aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 in 1970. He served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War and he later served two years aboard the Navy harbor tugboat U.S.S. Saugus at the U.S. floating nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. He went on to do security work as a Defense Department civilian while working part-time as a freelance writer. He became a full-time writer in 2007. You can read his crime columns, crime fiction, book reviews and news and feature articles on this website. You can read his full bio by clicking on the above photo. And you can contact Paul Davis at email@example.com