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The FBI and several local agencies worked together to combat child sex trafficking in East Tennessee.

The investigation led to 17 arrests: eight women for prostitution, four women for promoting prostitution, two women for human trafficking, and three men for solicitation.

Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater said "Sex trafficking of children is a serious and troubling offense and it will not be tolerated. We are fortunate to work with dedicated and capable local, state, and federal law enforcement partners as we address this threat. We want to especially thank the Knox County Sheriff's Office, Hamilton County Sheriff's office, Chattanooga Police Department, Red Bank Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigation, without them, this operation would not have been possible."

Operation Cross Country VIII was part of a nationwide effort called Innocence Lost that was established in 2003.

Since it started, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,400 children that were being exploited. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 people were convicted for those crimes, and 14 of them are serving life in prison.

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