More than 100 teenagers — many of them children from broken homes — were rescued over the weekend in a sex-trafficking crackdown that swept more than 70 cities, the FBI said Monday. The youngest victim was 13 years old, the agency said.
The sting resulted in the arrest of 159 “pimps” from San Francisco to Miami who were involved in the commercial exploitation of both adults and children, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division.
It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, and took law enforcement agencies to streets, motels, casinos and social media platforms, Hosko said. He said he hoped it would focus attention on sex trafficking, “this threat that robs us of our children.”
The sweep was the seventh iteration of Operation Cross Country, part of a partnership begun a decade ago by federal authorities and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to address child prostitution. An estimated 240,000 children in the United States are considered at risk of sexual exploitation.
Learn more at Pete Williams’ and Erin McClam’s NBC News article: More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says.