FBI: 105 children rescued; 150 arrested in nationwide child prostitution sting
More than 100 sexually exploited children have been rescued following a nationwide child sex trafficking crackdown this weekend by the FBI and local authorities across the country.
Law enforcement agencies in 76 cities coordinated the effort as part of ongoing efforts to stop child prostitution. The FBI says it puts a spotlight on a serious problem threatening our youth.
In Washington Park, Illinois, investigators looked for young women who may have been working in adult clubs.
Investigators recovered 105 sexually exploited children and arrested 150 suspects across the country. In the Detroit area, authorities recovered 10 children and arrested 18 suspects. In Birmingham, Alabama, investigators arrested two people and recovered three children. The youngest victim is just 13 years old.
"We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it," said Drew Oosterbaan with the Justice Department's Child Exploitation Section.
Authorities say the young victims are often found on the streets, but many others are pimped out at large sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, or on classified websites.
In the past 10 years, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has rescued more than 2,700 sexually exploited children. Many are runaways or foster children with no family to turn to.
"With no way to survive on their own, they are lured into a life and trafficked for sex," said John Ryan, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Now comes the difficult task of helping the victims rebuild their lives.
Congress has introduced legislation that would identify the juveniles as victims of abuse and neglect. That would expand the services and protections they are eligible to receive.