Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered 167 children in a nationwide operation as part of a U.S. Justice Department initiative to address commercial child sex trafficking.
Louisiana police arrested 17 pimps, 75 prostitutes, and recovered three children in sex-trafficking investigations across the state, reports WAFB.
According to a police report, one of the arrests took place at Motel 6 on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where undercover agents posed as customers, and arranged encounters via a website called Backpage.
“These are not faraway kids in faraway lands,” FBI Director James Comey said. “These are our kids, on our street corners, our truck stops, our motels, our casinos. These are America’s children.”
Investigators added that sometimes the children are runaways who are never reported missing, and once they are found, intervention and crisis teams help them heal.
In Louisiana, the stings resulted in the following arrests and recoveries:
- Baton Rouge: three pimps, 17 adult prostitutes arrested, one child recovered
- New Orleans: one child recovered, 17 adult prostitutes arrested
- Alexandria: two pimps, five adult prostitutes arrested
- Lake Charles: one pimp, 10 adult prostitutes arrested
- Monroe: three adult prostitutes arrested
- Shreveport: 10 pimps, 23 adult prostitutes arrested, one child recovered
In 106 cities across 37 states, law enforcement officials arrested a total of 281 pimps, who face charges at the state and federal level. They also seized four vehicles, cash, cell phones, heroin, methadone, Xanax, marijuana, synthetic marijuana and other narcotics.
A complete list of the arrests and recoveries is available on the FBI website.