The FBI arrested over 150 people and rescued 105 teenagers from prostitution rings in raids over the weekend. The rescued kids ranged in age from 13-17, and many came from broken homes, according to U.S. News. The “pimps” will be charged with human trafficking, among other offenses. The FBI sweep was a coordinated strike called “Operation Cross Country.” Arrests happened in 76 cities over three days. It was the largest operation to go after child prostitution rings ever in the United States. Twelve children of the 105 were rescued in San Francisco, and 18 pimps were arrested in Detroit.
Pimps often target children from broken homes, luring them in with compliments and the promise of money. Soon, the teenagers’ lives becomes one of sexual abuse, other physical abuse and enslavement. Assistant FBI Director Ron Hosko said that the bureau is trying to bring child prostitution into the public’s awareness:
"We have victims whose new normal is sexual abuse,'' Hosko said. "We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it.''
The youngest of the rescued was allegedly being pimped out by her father, who would also record his child’s sexual encounters.
While Operation Cross Country shows the power of law enforcement to find and arrest people involved with child prostitution, it also shows the scope of the problem.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," Hosko said. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."