The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Monday that they arrested 150 people in the largest operation against sex trafficking to date.
“Operation Cross Country” spanned across the nation as arrests were made on “pimps” and other individuals involved in 76 cities. According to their press release, the FBI rescued 105 teens in the three-day operation this past weekend. Ages of victims ranged from 13 to 17 years old.
The FBI also reported in their press release that they teamed up with local, state, and federal authorities, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
According to CNN, authorities said the operation took investigators to race tracks and truck stops. Authorities also used social media to track down sex trafficking activity. Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division said major sporting events are popular venues for child prostitution activity. Reuters reported that motels and casinos were hot spots as well.
The cities with the most arrests were Detroit (18), San Francisco (17), and Oklahoma City (13), Reuters reported.
This was the FBI’s seventh crackdown on child prostitution under the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative. According to the Washington Post, the campaign had rescued 2,700 children, and arrested about 1,350 “pimps” since 2003. Of those arrested, ten received life sentences.
According to Reuters, the FBI does not investigate adult prostitution, but made child prostitution a priority. Hosko said, “We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows, and put a spotlight on it.”
Congress is now taking notice of this low-profiled, but serious profile in the United States. The Washington Post reported that congress introduced legislation to help children who were victims of sex trafficking. This legislation would classify these children as victims of abuse and neglect, and provide them protection and services such as foster care.
As Sinbad said in the film “Jingle all the Way”, “This is a sick world we’re living in!”