June 26th, 2012
04:13 PM ET

FBI: Nationwide child prostitution sweep leads to 104 arrests, 79 children rescued

By Carol Cratty, CNN

Washington (CNN)  During a three-day law enforcement sweep targeting the problem of teenage prostitution, officers rescued 79 children and arrested 104 alleged pimps, the FBI announced Monday.

Operation Cross Country 6 took place from Friday though Sunday with more than 2,500 state, local and federal officers working in 57 cities.

FBI Acting Executive Assistant Director Kevin Perkins said the children law enforcement freed from their handlers ranged from 13 to 17 years old with one girl saying she had gotten involved in prostitution when she was 11.

"Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children that are disaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street themselves — they are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them, and that's really the first approach that's made," said Perkins.

"Once the child has been taken out of harm's way, then really the story just begins at that point," said Perkins. "That's where the real work starts, where we have to call upon the community, various social welfare agencies, our own office of victim assistance has to work with each child on an individual basis to see what their requirements are.

"This is a very difficult task. These children are very damaged — very harmed, and they need a great deal of help — it's really taxing the social welfare agencies and it's something that, going forward, we need to pay particular attention to."

Even though the FBI says 79 children were rescued, officials said there's no guarantee those minors won't be lured back into prostitution.

"A lot of these kids feel like they are in love, and therefore many of them will go back, so it's not only important that they get help, but they need a specialized kind of help," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

According to Perkins, the people exploiting children in this manner are engaged in organized crime and have business plans and strategies. He said such criminals know their market and will move kids from state to state to service clients. The criminals use various methods including the Internet to find vulnerable kids. They also may find them at bus stations or truck stops and offer them help as a first step to winning their confidence.

Operation Cross Country is part of the FBI's Innocence Lost National Initiative which was started in 2003. With 47 task forces and working groups, the FBI says more than 2,200 children have been pulled off the streets along with more than 1,000 convictions of people exploiting kids. According to the FBI, many of the convictions have resulted in long prison sentences, including eight life terms.

Despite those figures, the FBI and child advocates said child prostitution continues to be a serious problem and they called on the public to realize it can happen in any town and neighborhood.

Allen said the best estimate is that at least 100,000 American kids get lured into prostitution every year.

Topics: In The News

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. NEAL

    cant the FBI do some thing more important

    June 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • shraeve

      If there really are 100,000 new children victimized each year, then why did 2500 officers nationwide find only 79 of them?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:14 am | Reply
      • Dianne

        Because Americans are major bullsheeters. They exaggerate the numbers, then they also exaggerate the work they did. Idiocracy era has begun in the US far before the rest of the world, imbeciles fall for it all but life has become unbearable for decent people which make up a very small percentage of the population.

        June 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • john

        It was only 3 days.

        July 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • eyetweaks

        All they could locate from their arm chair and computer they were going to go outside and look!

        August 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
      • Cuervo Jones

        snuff films, overseas slave trade, etc. i grew up in NC in the 50's the state facilitated kidnappings and cash adoptions.

        August 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Leif

      @NEAL More important? Than what? Should they focus on illegal music downloads?

      June 30, 2012 at 4:47 am | Reply
      • eyetweaks

        No but good thing they got the soda size under control before looking on craigslist for these children. Sure would have helped if they did some foot work too?

        August 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Leif

      What is more important than protecting children?

      June 30, 2012 at 4:47 am | Reply
    • Leif

      Let me guess. You don't have any. That is probably a good thing.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:53 am | Reply
    • sls

      what you mean can the FBI do something more important? This is important .

      July 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • gatornuts

      Always the victim...

      July 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • Ashton

      Neal you are a jerk and very insensitive.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
    • iekkfl2

      Like what? Our children are the most important thing to us parents, and your statement leaves the rest of us wondering about you.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  2. Dunex

    What pops up in my mind is "this does not sound like an organised ring, why is this not a continious effort rolling from state to state?".

    June 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • eyetweaks

      To busy with people smoking weed more money in tracking those guys down and getting them in the system. Privatized prisons pay good money for convicts and make better money off them.

      August 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  3. The Woman

    Obama is more occupied with funding Libyan terrorist leaders ( now diseased) into uprrisingings, if gays can hold hands public-
    Ally , and if there is enough abortion funding
    Overseas ... He must be really ticked about this Tony Perkins doing something good for women or children. Hope he doesn't fire him.

    Was that your comment – oh,
    commander in cheap – or just one of your minions ?

    This Sting was Monday – and the Papers still
    Won't report – propably implicated your corrupt
    Cohort organization ... Starting with the DOJ –

    June 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  4. George Patton

    Finally, the U.S. government actually did something right for a change! Kudos to the F.B.I.! Now if we can get out of all these useless and unnecessary wars overseas and mind our own business for a change!!!

    June 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  5. Lawrence

    We still need to talk to many of the chrildren and advice them on seting issue and encourage them about the future.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  6. yvonne

    So you think it is not imporant to help kids. Your mother must be proud.

    July 1, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
  7. kristi

    I can believe that you think it not important to save children...what if you were one of them.. or someone you loved. Neal your just messed up. Congrats to the FBI!

    July 1, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  8. sis

    Great to hear the FBI is focused on saving our future generations. IT is very sad to think how many children have already been shipped and lost overseas before they got to them! To think how many clues they picked up from 79 children!!!

    July 5, 2012 at 1:42 am | Reply
  9. don

    the government should change the law, when the system is certain that the convicts are guilty, castrate them,
    these convicts have ruined the lives of so many children, they don't deserve to even live!

    why let these convicts enjoy prison life doing nothing, they should do community work in chains!

    i like to know, do prisons have a section (laundry) where organisation / NGO can send soiled cloths / materials to these convicts to be washed and ironed. the government should make forced labour from these convicts, then make money from these labour and the profit should be donated to NGO and some into the government... isn't this a more logical approach

    July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • Theresa

      Don, i like the way you think!

      July 6, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
      • Avicenna

        Well, now that the media spotlight is thteeraning to move on to someone else, the Pastor is saying he was duped this Friday morning and will now re-consider going back to burning the books again. i hope his congregation abandons him in light of his intolerance and acting like a petulant child by trying to force the Muslims into not building the mosque in NY via this threat.

        August 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • john

      Thats not actually a bad idea, theres a process utilizing chemical castration that some convicts opt into. The ones that do it(they are still life sentencers) say that it really helps them with their "urges"

      July 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  10. alex cooper

    It is not true abouth your FBI agents child phornographi went the same Robert mueller did act along with new recruits at the marine or withe marines USA , not only that but the FBI does criminal thinks they enjoy under no body's is watching or by he Icc who's watching them how they use our family to do on politics the same FBI the same FBIoes this he knows the a child killer leaves on union st in Newark who happens to seduce children's and make them post nude or ask the same mother to ask their children's to post name it thru their lo tops in order to be in politics or act wrongly in order to use derail the planes from north to south or viseveza FBI FAA CIA ins , and many more Authorities my case is International.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  11. bobby kruse

    I can't forgive the exploitation not for one day... NOT FOR ONE DAY!

    July 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  12. Barton


    July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Reply
  13. Esther

    This is really crazy!where is the mother of morality and discipline in the US?

    July 15, 2012 at 6:58 am | Reply
  14. Neil Armstrong

    Maybe we should take some of the millions/billions of dollars invested in taking down medical marijuana facilities and move that over to this cause...

    July 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  15. Itchykawkov

    This world is truly Hell.
    When money talks, all ears and eyes go deaf and blind. sad i tell ya.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  16. shekinah419

    Reblogged this on servehiminthewaiting and commented:
    Anyone who thinks slavery is a thing of the past, is sadly mistaken.

    July 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  17. iekkfl2

    The people organizing and making money off the suffering of children are beyond pathetic, they are monsters and the penalties for this behavior should be at a minimum life in prison without the possibility of parole. They make me sick to my stomach. God forbid they go near my children, I will rip their heads off with my bare hands.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  18. Ron

    STOP gang stalking and eletronic harassmrnt Google "Gang Stalking FAQ" for more information.


    August 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  19. voice of reason

    Ok Neal, what should they be doing? Who should the government be working to protect? These people matter just as much as any of us. It is sickening how poeple will take advantage of a kid's poverty or home situation and decieve them.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  20. betty haddock

    you,re right they are not super human they are didoing what they can.i say keep tring to bring these children home save.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  21. betty haddock

    iagree they are doing a good job.keep it up bring these children home save.

    August 11, 2012 at 7:59 am | Reply
  22. real! Robert C Lawson

    Good one FBI, Kudo,s!,.. more please!,..This type of trafficing in persons is a lot more prevelent than most seem to realise[or want to admit?]..and the gangs in play are!! international in scope,..very much so!,..re,the pimps?[sad,sick creatures],..this kind of mentality can never recover,.. no jail sentence, group hugs deal, or anything for that matter can ever! change them,, they are "broken" and can not be repaired,, this leaves the real question,, what do! we do with them??..besides stripping them clean of everything they possess and slamming them in jail for life,, there is no other real viable solution that works and also serves as a detterent,..btw, we have found that these networks in play are also into virtually every other kind of abuse,, women,children, the elderly and the disabled,, often at the same time,..this is THE! dirty side of orginised crime,..next time you druggies buy some cocaine,crack etc,, be aware,, this!! is what you! are supporting,, and "I didnt know" aint gonna fly,..if you "didnt"?? you should have!...so far?.. global?.. well over 78,000! victims have been recovered from this,, it is not!! only an US problem,..the FBI ask,"what can we do to keep these kids from further harm??..first, get them far away from the abusers, small towns are best,,move them into a family situation asap,, then get them real psychological help that is victim based and not blame! based,..you might even consider setting up entire communities for this purpose, so the kids are not alone, and dont feel left out etc,..farms??.. small towns,, remote??..semi remote maybe even??..with real, active and immediate! consequences for anyone not only firstly abusing them, but re abusing as well[immediate life would be my take]...and these "pimps" have others!! over them,,and quite often they are hiding as "respectible" people in positions of power,, that!! has to be addressed as well,...abusers can be and so often are as DR R Hare says,;"casuisticly cunning",He also says;"they network for protection".. he is correct,..be sure and check"what else"..it so often is going down at the same time,..meantime,, keep it up,, sic parvis magna,..indeed!..no??.. good work!..

    August 11, 2012 at 11:59 am | Reply
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    August 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  24. Cuervo Jones

    79 victims are "taxing" the system. sounds like another govt giveaway. better shut em down

    August 15, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
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    August 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  26. Gabriel

    It sad 4 d kids,our parents hv a major role to play in making sure we are safe,irritation of kids wil worsen matters.

    August 26, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
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