Six weeks after a two-state sting, the children rescued from sex traffickers are being cared for by foster families and other partners. Operation Blue Ghost occurred in Wichita and Kansas City suburbs.
Thirty-two individuals were arrested for crimes against children in and around Wichita between May 17 and June 2 during the operation. Homeland Security Investigations Kansas City and the HSI Kansas City Child Exploitation Taskforce conducted the operation.
“I am extremely proud of all of the special agents, analysts and officers whose hard work and dedication made this operation a success,” said R. Sean Fitzgerald, HIS acting special agent in charge of Kansas City area operation. “Our joint commitment to protecting children has removed these 32 dangerous individuals from our streets and hopefully sends a clear message to others looking to harm children.”
During its initial phase from May 17 to 19, HSI Wichita and the Wichita Police Department targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child which resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals for crimes related to aggravated human trafficking, promoting the sale of sex and the purchase of commercial sex acts.
From May 31 to June 2, HSI Kansas City and partners continued Operation Blue Ghost in and around Independence, Clay County and Platte County. During this operation, HSI Kansas City, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, the Independence Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Bourbon County, Kan., Sheriff’s Office targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child.
During this phase, 15 additional individuals were arrested for crimes related to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, enticement of a minor, sexual trafficking of a child, furnishing pornographic material to minors, sexual exploitation of a minor, promoting prostitution, aggravated human trafficking, sex trafficking, obscenity and morals offenses, felony assault on a law enforcement officer, felony evading, felony property damage, attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape second-degree.
Authorities say the child victims remain safe after being connected with social services and placed, when possible, with temporary foster families. Officials say the minors are being counseled.
One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to:
- Identify and rescue child victims.
- Identify and apprehend offenders.
- Prevent transnational child sexual abuse.
- Help make the internet a safer place for children.
If you have information about suspected child exploitation activity, you’re encouraged to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-347-2423 to report suspicious activity.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice