The FBI just completed a nationwide childhood prostitution sweep that resulted in the rescue of 105 childhood sex workers and the arrest of 150 pimps.
In a press conference, Ron Hosko of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Decision declared childhood prostitution a “consistent threat” in America.
The young people saved, almost all girls, ranged between ages 13-17. According to the Washington Post, the sweep, titled Operation Cross Country, rescued the largest number of children in San Francisco, followed by Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver, and New Orleans.
The Justice Department estimates that nearly 450,000 children run away from homes each year. Of that total, nearly one-third will be lured towards prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
“Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children that are dissaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street themselves,” said acting Executive Assistant Director Kevin Perkins at a press conference today.
“They are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them, and that’s really the first approach that’s made.”
The operation was the latest part of the 2003 Innocence Lost National Initiative. In the initiatives 10 years, 2,200 children have been freed from forced prostitution, and over 1,000 adults have been convicted of endangering and exploiting children.
The FBI released some raw video footage of their arrests across the nation. Here’s one of the clips: