FBI rescues 79 teens in sex trafficking raids
Seventy-seven young women and two children held against their will and forced into prostitution were rescued in hotels, truck stops and other locations in a three-day operation against sex trafficking in the United States reported Monday by authorities.
The FBI said it arrested 104 pimps during operations in 57 cities, including Atlanta, Sacramento and Toledo (Ohio). The raids were conducted between Thursday and Saturday, and were attended by local and state authorities as well as the federal.
The teenagers, aged between 13 and 17, were taken into custody until they can be placed in child care organizations. They are all Americans, the FBI said.
One of the children recovered was 11 years old, said they were engaged in prostitution, according to Kevin Perkins told, FBI official.
Perkins said the incident cases were not “isolated”, but no evidence of “criminal organizations” that appeal to children, often through social-media, hold them against their will by threats against them or their families, and then the traffic to different cities.
Child prostitution is “a problem that occurs in cities all U.S. and happens to American children,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“People in this country believe it is only a problem that occurs elsewhere,” he added.
Allen estimated that at least 100 000 children are victims of child prostitution and trafficking each year, but said the estimate was difficult because, among other reasons, not all cases are reported.
The operation last week is part of an initiative launched in 2003 to combat child trafficking for sexual purposes. In 2008 there were five raids of this kind.
To date, some 2,200 children have been rescued in the program, the FBI said, adding that its figures do not take into account children recovered by other state and local investigations.
- FBI: Child prostitution sweep rescues 79 (cnn.com)
- FBI rescues 79 underage victims of sex trafficking, including six from the Dallas area (crimeblog.dallasnews.com)
- FBI: 79 Rescued In Child Prostitution Sweep (wibw.com)
- FBI: 79 teen prostitutes rescued, 104 alleged pimps arrested – USA TODAY (content.usatoday.com)