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Human trafficking investigation targets Jax

An FBI-led investigation into human trafficking this month yielded three arrests and led to the location of seven sex trafficking victims in North Florida, authorities say. Special Agent C.J. Goodman, who oversees the agency’s investigations into crimes against children, said the victims included a girl who was found in Jacksonville after being brought here from out of state for sex.

The local arrests came from a collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement and were part of a long-running national effort known as Operation Cross Country. That effort aims to root out traffickers and to assist victims in rebuilding their lives. As part of the North Florida investigation, the FBI contacted 46 people who were potential trafficking victims.

Goodman said the seven victims were trafficked for sex. The girl located in Jacksonville will be aided by a victim specialist to ensure she’s being cared for and her basic needs are met, the agency says.

In an interview with Jacksonville Today, Goodman provided no information about the suspects, saying the investigation is ongoing.

He urges Jax-area residents to be aware that human trafficking happens in the community and to report possible cases of it.

“It is modern-day slavery, and it continues to this day,” he says.