FBI Busts Up Child Prostitution Rings ... But Rehabilitation Funds Are Running Out
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Forty-eight child prostitutes, some as young as 13, were taken into custody and 571 adults -- including 50 pimps -- arrested in a nationwide sting called Operation Cross Country III. The sweep which took place in 29 cities was part of the FBI's "Innocence Lost" initiative, which set up task forces of police, federal agents and prosecutors to target child prostitution.
Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago, Denver and Phoenix were among the cities targeted. Some adults were charged with prostitution, others as clients, and still others as pimps, with some charges including the domestic trafficking of children for sex.
FBI Special Agent Tarna Derby-McCurtain of the bureau's Tacoma office explained that teens lured into prostitution from Washington State wind up on the "West Coast track," traveling on a sex circuit that ranges from Vancouver, B.C. to Los Angeles to Las Vegas.