WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) — Nearly 170 victims of child sex trafficking, many of whom had never been reported missing, were rescued in the last week as part of an annual nationwide crackdown, the FBI said Monday.
Besides the 168 children rescued from the sex trade, 281 pimps were arrested during the same period on state and federal charges, including one from the Norfolk area.
“These are not faraway kids in faraway lands,” FBI Director James Comey said in announcing the annual enforcement push known as Operation Cross Country. Instead, he added, “These are America’s children.”
This is the eighth such week long-operation, which this year unfolded in 106 cities. The FBI says nearly 3,600 children have so far been recovered from the streets.
“There is no more meaningful work that the FBI participates in than rescuing children,” Comey said.
He said one concerning trend is the increasing prevalence of children who are being prostituted online.
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.
The following list denotes FBI divisions, not necessarily actual cities, where juveniles were recovered and pimps were arrested.
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