The FBI says it has rescued 105 children– mostly girls– who were forced into prostitution in the United States and arrested 150 people it described as pimps and others in a series of raids in 76 American cities. The campaign, known as “Operation Cross Country,” was the largest of its type and conducted under the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” initiative.
“We were 30-40 percent more successful in identifying both victims and pimps on this operation,” according to the FBI.
Child prostitution remains what the FBI calls a “persistent threat” to children across America.
“The girls are enticed with compliments or offers … do they want to make money. They listen and take a little piece of the bait and then they are trapped to this cycle,” according to the FBI.
Undercover agents use a wide variety of ways to to make contact with the victims and their pimps.
“Those techniques may involve social media. Our use of social media may involve various digital messages, it may involve various phone calls to set up meetings but in all cases we are not working blindly, we are not working randomly, we are working with our partners to aggregate data and understand where we should be and when we should be there,” according to the FBI.
The campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003.