ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - In a rare move, the FBI's Atlanta office released video Tuesday from a nationwide child sex trafficking operation. According to the FBI, "Operation Independence Day" lasted through the entire month of July and resulted in the identification or recovery of 103 children as well as the arrests of 67 offenders.
"I think it's one of the most important things that we do in the FBI," said Supervisory Special Agent Eric Pauley. "We're trying to protect our nation's most valuable resource and that's our children."
Pauley said the FBI released the behind-the-scenes video to help raise awareness of the ongoing issue of child sex trafficking.
According to officials, the Georgia operation included 30 different law enforcement agencies as well as a handful of non-government agencies. Partners rescued four adult and seven minor sex trafficking victims. Of those, six of the children were in metro Atlanta and one was in the Augusta area. They said the youngest was only 15 years old.
The primary goal of "Operation Independence Day" was to recover victims, but the FBI said Smyrna Police also arrested three people and charged them with pimping.
"Because the threat exists in metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and rural communities throughout the state of Georgia and throughout the United States, not one agency can combat this threat successfully on their own," Pauley explained.