The FBI launched a 72-hour nationwide operation targeting pimps who prey on children — an undercover mission that rescued 105 teens ranging mostly in age from 13 to 17 years old, with the youngest victim being 9 years old, authorities said Monday.
‘Children with a void’
Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal division, said “Operation Cross-Country” — launched Friday — included sting operations in 76 U.S. cities that resulted in the arrests of 150 pimps.
Hosko said law enforcement refers to these young victims as “children with a void.” Once the pimp identifies that void and makes every attempt to fill it, a dependency between the child and the perpetrator develops, Hosko said. He added that the most vulnerable victims forced into sex trafficking range in age from 13 to 16. Most of the children come from either foster care homes or are considered runaways.
‘Cut across racial lines’
“This operation targeted venues where girls and adults are operated for commercial sex,” Hosko said, including places like street tracks, truck stops, casinos and hotels. “The victims cut across racial lines,” he said, and span all socioeconomic levels and demographics.
The FBI joined forces with 230 agencies around the country during the three-day mission, Hosko said. Every FBI field office in the nation was involved in the operation. “Operation Cross-Country” was the largest of its type and conducted under the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” initiative. The FBI said the campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003.
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Source: Fox News
Image: The Guardian