Reporting Mary Bubala
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Shutting down child sex trafficking. In just three days, the FBI rescued more than 100 children forced into prostitution and arrested 150 accused pimps–including three operating here in Maryland.
Mary Bubala has more on these widespread raids.
The FBI makes a major sweep of child sex trafficking. The agency released a video which shows some of the 150 pimps and other suspects who were arrested during a three-day operation to rescue children forced into prostitution.
“I’m pleased to announce Operation Cross Country 7 is the largest to date focusing on the recovery of exploited children,” said FBI Assistant Director Ronald Hosko.
Operation Cross Country 7 involved raids in 76 cities. Authorities rescued 105 children between 13 and 17 years old. In the past 10 years, the FBI’s Innocence Lost Initiative has saved 2,700 children.
The FBI released an interview with a young woman named Alex, who ran away from home and at the age of 16 turned to prostitution.
“At first it was terrifying and then you just kind of become numb to it,” she said.
Alex eventually contacted the FBI and helped investigators send two pimps to prison.
“It happened and I can’t change it. I can only change my future. They had my past but they don’t have my future,” she said.
For the past decade, the FBI’s crackdown—which they have conducted in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—has led to 1,350 convictions.
Most of the pimps were sentenced from 15 to 50 years behind bars. Several received life sentences.
Three of the alleged pimps were arrested in Baltimore.
The FBI says most of the children victimized were recruited from foster care or group homes.