Nationwide child prostitution sting finds success in Las Vegas

Posted: Feb 23, 2009 06:17 PM PST

It’s a sad reality when police pick-up a prostitute and they can’t be sure she’s even 18 years old. All too often, she’s a juvenile. And in those cases, officers don’t make an arrest, they make a rescue. We learned a horrible truth from the success of Operation Cross Country this weekend as police rounded 45 teenage prostitutes, some as young a 13 years old and some working right here in Las Vegas. It’s a scene playing out in 29 cities around the country. Simultaneous stings where the undercover makes the deal, and they pick her up. The girl looked young in her CraigsList add, like so many, and that’s why she’s here. “These are children who for whatever reason were forced into a life of prostitution. Take them out of that system,” said Bill Cassell, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. Las Vegas has now seen three sweeps like this where police, both federal and local, are looking for juveniles. This time, they were successful again. “We identified and rescue two victims of child prostitution. And we look at that as a huge success,” Cassell said. But that’s not where it ends. Police also picked-up pimps and johns, buying and selling minors. “We look at the successful arrest and prosecution of the pimps as one of the cornerstones of our effort,” Cassell said. Police make an arrest even when it isn’t a child. In all 68 prostitutes, 3 Johns and 2 pimps were taken off the streets in Las Vegas this weekend. The object is to arrest those pimps, and the johns and adult prostitutes. But the children police take in custody may have other options – there’s a chance they can be counseled and cared-for in such a way that they leave the life. But if police have to lock-them-up in order to get them off the streets, that’s what they’ll do.

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  1. Two pimps (aka traffickers) and two victims of trafficking. Success indeed.

    Teachers in school report child abuse in far greater numbers than this, without wrecking adult women’s lives. Why aren’t they heralded as heroes or given extra pay? I’m just tossing this out there.

    I’m so mad. You know I’ve been holed up in my house hiding from traffic cops anyway. I can’t even imagine the hell 68 of my colleagues are going through right now. We need to start a support group for arrested women.


  2. The teachers should be awarded. Then more of them would speak louder when they’re faced with it. Too often teachers are punished if they do an intervention.

    … And their should be some sort of mutiny and written apology for adult women who are choosing the life style. There is a clear difference between a teenagers who is too young to understand their actions or the effect, and a women who is mature enough to understand if she’s emotionally strong enough to handle the job. It doesn’t make sense.

  3. As usual, even though we’re being told that the purpose of this operation is to fight child prostitution, the vast majority of people being arrested are sex workers. If the police and FBI really do care about fighting child prostitution, then they can do that without forcing sex workers into jail cages. Once they find out that a sex worker is an adult, they could just let this person go and that’s what they would do if the main focus really were on stopping child prostitution. I think there should be a demonstration outside of the FBI headquaters in Las Vegas and other cities where this is happening.

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