Child-prostitution crackdown rescues minors, nets arrests

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Six suspected San Diego-area pimps were arrested in a
nationwide crackdown on those who traffic in teenage prostitutes — five of
whom were taken into protective custody local, federal agents said Monday.

The latest iteration of “Operation Cross Country” included the
freeing of 105 juveniles and the arrests of 159 suspected pimps, according to
the FBI. The sweep included actions in 76 cities over the past weekend.

The crime of underage prostitution “remains a persistent threat to
children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's
Criminal Investigative Division.

“This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can
happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of
victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation
accountable,” Hosko said.

The project occurred under the auspices of the Innocence Lost National
Initiative, which was established in 2003 by the FBI, in partnership with the
Department of Justice and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America's
children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet,” NCMEC chief
executive John Ryan said.

Through the multi-agency initiative, the FBI and its partners recovered
more than 2,700 children from the streets to date, agents said. The resulting
1,350 convictions have led to lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms, and
the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets, according to the federal
investigative agency.

The operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target
truck stops, casinos, street “tracks” and websites that advertise dating or
escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their
respective jurisdictions.

A long rap sheet related to prostitution or solicitation. Information
gleaned from those suspects frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute
women and children across many states, officials said.

FBI agents develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. attorney's
offices and the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity
Section so that prosecutors can bring federal charges in the cases.

Categories: KUSI