The FBI says it has rescued 105 children who were forced into prostitution in the United States and arrested 150 people it described as pimps in a series of raids in 76 American cities, including North Texas.
The campaign, known as "Operation Cross Country," was the largest of its type and conducted under the FBI's "Innocence Lost" initiative.
Local FBI bureaus in Dallas, Houston, El Paso and San Antonio all reported arrests and rescues -- though the arrests and rescues may not have taken place in the respective cities.
The Dallas bureau recovered one juvenile and arrested one pimp. Elsewhere in Texas, the FBI said two pimps were arrested by the El Paso bureau and that one juvenile was rescued and four pimps were arrested by the San Antonio bureau. The Houston bureau reported three juveniles were rescued.
The assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigative division, Ron Hosko, said that child prostitution remains what he called a "persistent threat" to children across America.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
The FBI said the campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003. The investigations have resulted in more than 1,350 convictions and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.
Task force operations typically begin as investigations by local law enforcement that target truck stops, casinos, street "tracks" and websites that advertise dating or escort services, the FBI said in a news release, and that initial arrests are often for violations of local laws regarding solicitation or prostitution.
"Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states," the FBI said.
The following list shows bureaus that reported arrests and rescues of juveniles between 13- and 16-years-old.
|FBI Division||Juveniles Recovered||Pimps Arrested|
|New York City||0||0|
|Salt Lake City||0||0|