In an 72-hour operation that spanned 76 cities in the United States, the FBI says it rescued 105 sexually exploited children and apprehended 150 pimps.
Fox News reports that most of the children rescued during “Operation Cross Country VII” ranged in age from 13 to 17; the youngest victim was 9-years-old.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “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 says that operations of this kind have so far saved 2,700 children and resulted in 1,350 convictions.
“The FBI says that most children who are vulnerable to such exploitation have a ‘void in their lives,’ be it from family, poverty, and other circumstances. Too often, pimps and other abusive figures step in to fill it, leaving the victims thinking they have no other choice.”
The FBI put together this video showing how the operations worked: