FBI arrests 150 alleged pimps, rescues 105 kids forced into prostitution (+video)
FBI arrests 150: The FBI arrested 150 suspected pimps in a three-day, 76-city sweep that also rescued 105 child prostitutes, the FBI announced Monday.
The FBI said Monday that authorities arrested 150 alleged pimps and rescued 105 young people in a three-day sweep in 76 cities. FBI officials called child prostitution a "persistent threat" in America.
The agency said it had been monitoring Backpage.com and other websites as a prominent online marketplace for sex for sale. Backpage.com said that it was "very, very pleased" by the raids and that if the website were shut down to the advertisements, the ads would be pushed to sites that wouldn't cooperate with law enforcement.
The young people in the roundup, almost all of them girls, ranged in age from 13 to 17.
The largest numbers of children rescued in the weekend initiative, Operation Cross Country, were in San Francisco, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans. The operation was conducted under the FBI's decade-long Innocence Lost National Initiative. The latest rescues and arrests were the largest such enforcement action to date.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across the country," Ron Hosko, assistant director of the bureau's criminal investigative division, told a news conference. "We're trying to put this spotlight on pimps and those who would exploit."
In Operation Cross Country, federal, state and local authorities cooperated in an intelligence effort aimed at identifying pimps and their young victims.