Mandel Ngan (Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (AP/USA TODAY) - The FBI says it has rescued 105 children 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. 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.
The sweep, conducted in the past three days, was carried out in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. It represents the largest such law enforcement action focused on children forced into prostitution.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."
The FBI said the campaign has resulted in rescuing 2,700 children since 2003.