Sweep frees child prostitutes


Dozens of juveniles have been freed from forced prostitution by a nationwide operation that resulted in the arrests of hundreds of other people, the FBI announced Monday.

In the three-day operation, which began Thursday night, the FBI, along with local and state law enforcement agencies, took the 46 girls and one boy -- all of them U.S. citizens ages 13 to 17 -- into protective custody.

"Operation Cross Country II" involved efforts in 29 cities and resulted in the arrest of 73 pimps and 518 adult prostitutes, the FBI said.

Those arrested could face federal or state charges, depending on their alleged activities.

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said some of the alleged sex traffickers were working in networks of six to 10 pimps.

"Sex trafficking of children remains one of our most violent and unconscionable crimes in this country," he told reporters.

Authorities said some of the alleged prostitutes were found at casinos and truck stops. Others were advertised on the Internet.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, likened teen prostitution to "21st century slavery" and estimated that tens of thousands of teens may be involved. He said it is "happening on Main Street U.S.A. ... These people are moving kids city to city."


This is a crime that I just cannot imagine. Who would do this to kids and who would seek the services of a child prostitute? This sounds like something out of a different century. The Bush administration has been very active in trying to stop this conduct not just at home, but around the world. It is a much overlooked part of the administrations legacy as is its good works in saving millions in Africa.


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