Weekend crackdown on child sex trafficking recovers 100 missing and exploited children and results in 150 arrests of pimps and madams.
WASHINGTON — The FBI said Monday that it had recovered over 100 victims of child prostitution and arrested 150 pimps in a nationwide operation cracking down on underage sex trafficking.
At a Monday press conference, officials said that the weekend raids involved more than 12,000 law enforcement personnel from more than 450 state and local agencies in 76 cities and towns. The victims were girls as young as 13, many of whom had been lured from foster care or broken homes into lives of sexual abuse, torture and prostitution.
The trafficking involved selling underage girls for sex on online classified sites like Backpage.com, at highway truck stops and at sporting events including the NCAA basketball finals and the Super Bowl.
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.
It was at least the seventh sweep — and the largest to date — as part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative, a joint operation with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The most recent previous sweep recovered 80 missing and exploited children in late June.
This is a developing story. Check back with MSN News for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.