A registered sex offender arrested in Salem was among 120 traffickers detained and 84 minors recovered in a nationwide FBI sex trafficking sweep.
The FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, working with several local agencies, including the Salem Police Department, Keizer Police Department and Polk County Interagency Narcotics Team, recovered two child victims in Oregon and arrested several adult prostitutes and those promoting prostitution.
Terrence Martell Williams, of Portland, was arrested in Salem Oct. 12 on charges of promoting prostitution, methamphetamine possession and illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.
Williams, who was convicted of two counts of identity theft in January, was on probation when he was arrested. According to court records, he was arrested multiple times for failing to register as a sex offender.
According to FBI officials, six adult prostitutes were arrested or cited in Salem. Law enforcement and social service providers, like the Marion County District Attorney's Victim Assistance Program and Safety Compass Oregon, offered assistance to those contacted.
Two minor-aged victims were recovered in Portland, and nine adult prostitutes were arrested or cited.
In Eugene, five adult prostitutes were contacted by law enforcement.
"It can be easy to think that selling sex with children is so corrupt, so depraved that it couldn't possibly happen in my town, my neighborhood, my school," said Loren Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "But, as we find out every time we recover a child, these victims are here and their needs are very real."
As news of the arrests poured in, so did the horrific details of child sex trafficking operations.
In Colorado, an FBI task force recovered a 3-month-old girl and her 5-year-old sister after a family friend tried to sell both children for sex in exchange for $600.
The sweep was part of the FBI's and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's "Operation Cross Country" initiative to recover minor sex trafficking victims and to target the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.
In total, FBI task forces working with local and state law enforcement recovered more than 80 minors and arrested 120 traffickers.
The FBI's victim specialists work with state agencies and social service providers to offer minor sex trafficking victims with medical assistance, support and mental health counseling.
"These kids are everyone's responsibility, and they are counting on us — the FBI, local law enforcement, the community — to come together to give them a chance at a life we would all wish for our children," Cannon said.
Since its creation, the FBI initiative has recovered more than 6,500 children from child sex trafficking and arrested hundreds of traffickers.
According to the FBI, investigators staged operations in a number of locations, including casinos, hotels and truck stops as well as on street corners and via the Internet.
Officials declined to release specific locations of the Oregon stings to protect the integrity of future operations.
“This operation isn't just about taking traffickers off the street,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth