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Horry County part of FBI child sex trafficking operation: 'They don't know how to get out'

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Horry Co., S.C. (WPDE) — A nationwide underage sex trafficking sting that included Horry County and Myrtle Beach Police just wrapped up.

Agents say they freed 84 minors, and arrested 120 traffickers from across the country.

The operation didn't result in any children recovered or trafficking arrests in South Carolina.

Police reports we found show Myrtle Beach police made four arrests here in Myrtle Beach on the same day the sting started, involving prostitution.

Those reports show two people arrested for uniform traffic citations for prostitution, an arrest for prostitution after a multi-jurisdictional operation, and one person arrested for prostitution. They all happened at Hilton Garden Inn next to Coastal Grand Mall.

While none of those charges are for sex trafficking, South Carolina Special Agent Don Woods says taking out traffickers anywhere helps everywhere.

"They don't necessarily hang out in one location for an extended period of time for s number of reasons,” Woods said. “Number one, it makes it harder on law enforcement and, number two, they feel like maybe they've exhausted their ability to make money there and they just move on."

The youngest victim of this operation is 3 months old, and the average age is 15.

"They get in these situations and they don't know how to get out,” said Woods. “For lack of a better word maybe they're brainwashed and so scared and threatened that they can't leave. So from that standpoint it's difficult for them to break away and speak out."

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. Joey Crosby referred our questions to the FBI agent who lead the investigation and those arrest reports as to what MBPD roll in the operation is.

We left a voicemail for the Horry County Public Information Officer to learn about their role, but we haven’t heard back.

To learn more about the operation and to see some of the live video from the stings in other states, click here.


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