FBI frees 105 juveniles from sex traffickers

Just as Catholic News Service was reporting July 25 on the work of local groups in Ohio on efforts to help teenage human trafficking victims, the FBI was preparing to mount its own rescue mission.

Over the weekend, federal and local officials freed 105 young people from the control of traffickers in 76 cities across the country. Authorities arrested 159 traffickers on state and federal charges in series of raids officials dubbed Operation Cross Country.

The operation was part of the 10-year-old Innocence Lost National Initiative, a collaborative effort of the FBI, the Justice Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The largest number of recovered victims and arrests took place in FBI divisions in Detroit (10 and 18, respectively), San Francisco (12 and 17, respectively), Atlanta (17 traffickers but no victims) and Milwaukee (10 victims, but no traffickers).

While significant, the weekend operation just scratched the surface of commercial child sex trafficking nationwide. The FBI says about 300,000 American teens are at risk of being trafficked annually.

More than 2,700 children have been recovered since the Innocence Lost National Initiative started. The campaign has led to 1,350 convictions, some resulting in life prison terms, and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Video: Missionary pope: Francis in Brazil

Catholic News Service looks at the impact of the first Latin American pope’s visit to his native continent.

“Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests”

Pope Francis told reporters on his flight from Rio to Rome that women cannot be ordained as priests, but that they are “more important than bishops and priests.”

What does that mean? Earlier this year, the papal theologian explained the theology behind these statements in an interview with CNS.