CLEVELAND (WJW) — As part of a nationwide sex trafficking operation that led to the rescue of more than 100 children, several arrests were made by local law enforcement in Northeast Ohio.

FBI agents from the Cleveland Division worked with Toledo, Lima and Allen County agencies during “Operation Cross Country” which ran on August 4-5 and resulted in 15 misdemeanor arrests for solicitation and four felony arrests for drug offenses.

Nationally, 85 suspects in total were identified or arrested for child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Aside from the arrests, the operation produced intelligence on local sex trafficking subjects and drug trafficking organizations, according to law enforcement.

The FBI along with its partners joined the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children conducting 391 operations over the two-week period in August. Eighty-four minor victims of child sex trafficking and exploitation were rescued, 37 actively missing children were found and 141 adult victims of trafficking were rescued.

“The success of Operation Cross County reinforces what NCMEC sees every day. Children are being bought and sold for sex in communities across the country by traffickers, gangs and even family members,” said Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO National Center for Missing & Exploited Children “We’re proud to support the FBI’s efforts to prioritize the safety of children.  This national operation highlights the need for all child-serving professionals to continue to focus on the wellbeing of children and youth to prevent them from being targeted in the first place.” 

The Department of Justice says workers are in place to provide a “bridge” for victims to ensure they receive resources available to them including crisis intervention, emergency food and clothing, transportation to receive emergency services, and locating shelter or housing.