Press Release: More Than 50 Children Rescued During Operation Cross Country IV

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2009
Washington D.C., FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Over the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concluded Operation Cross Country IV, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The operation included enforcement actions in 36 cities across 30 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 52 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 700 others, including 60 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.

“Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “There is no work more important than protecting America’s children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization. Through our strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, we are able to make a difference.” Continue reading

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Houston: Sting Targets Underage Prostitutes, Pimps

By Elizabeth Scarborough
Click2Houston.com

updated 4:17 a.m. PT, Wed., Feb. 25, 2009

HOUSTON – Law enforcement officers cracked down on underage prostitutes in 29 cities, including Houston, KPRC Local 2 reported.

“These are not prostitutes, these are child sex victims,” said Special Agent Patrick Fransen with the Houston FBI.

In the sting, undercover officers made more than 500 arrests nationwide.

“We go out and make as many arrests as we can,” said Fransen. “Then we look for the underage victims.”

In Houston, out of 45 arrests officials found that three of the suspected prostitutes were under the age of 18.

“This child is abused 10 to 15 times a night by various strangers and criminals,” said Fransen. Continue reading

10 child prostitutes in Washington rescued during nationwide sweep by FBI

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 – Page updated at 12:00 AM
By Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporter

Police and federal agents rescued 10 child prostitutes and arrested 35 people in Western Washington as part of a nationwide sweep aimed at curbing the sexual exploitation of children, according to the FBI.

Nationwide, “Operation Cross Country III” last week took 48 child prostitutes into protective custody and police and agents in 29 cities — including Seattle, Everett and Tacoma — arrested 571 people for investigation of state and federal charges involving the domestic trafficking of children for sex.

“We continue to pursue those who exploit our nation’s children,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller. “We may not be able to return their innocence but we can remove them from this cycle of abuse and violence.”

Special Agent Robbie Burroughs of the Seattle office of the FBI said most of those arrested here will face state charges, although three individuals arrested for pimping child prostitutes could face more serious federal charges. Continue reading

Police Make Big Prostitution Sweep in Las Vegas Valley

Updated: Feb 24, 2009 11:08 AM PST

Three local girls were part of the nationwide prostitution sweep.

Three valley children have been rescued in a nationwide effort to save teens from child prostitution. In Las Vegas, 67 adults, including two pimps, were arrested in Operation Cross Country III.

Metro Police say the arrests are just the beginning of an ongoing crackdown.

From the classiest hotels on the Strip, to shadiest streets, working girls are on the prowl once the sun goes down. But the world’s oldest profession is also involving young women, and many not by choice.

“The primary focus of this operation is to identify and rescue children who have been forced into a life of prostitution,” said Metro Officer Bill Cassell. Continue reading

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.

Link to original story

Boston: 5 arrested in US sting at Marriott

Officials say operation targets child prostitution
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff | February 21, 2009

A guest at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf said she and her mother were on their way to their room after checking in shortly after midnight yesterday when they encountered a raucous scene in a sixth-floor hallway as some 17 FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women.

“It was a huge scene,” said the guest, who asked not to be identified, adding that it was frightening to have to walk by a gauntlet of investigators to get to their room as one of the women screamed at the top of her lungs, then rolled around on the floor hyperventilating.

“We kept asking, ‘What’s going on?’ ” said the guest, adding that officers told her to “keep moving” and, “It’s none of your business.”

Yesterday, the FBI, Boston police, and State Police said they were at the hotel conducting an undercover investigation as part of “Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide initiative of the US Justice Department aimed at cracking down on child prostitution. Continue reading

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