More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says
More than 100 teenagers involved in sex trafficking and exploitation were rescued over the weekend in coordinated raids encompassing more than 70 cities, the FBI said Monday.
The youngest child was 13 years old, the agency said.
The raids resulted in the arrest of 150 “pimps” involved in the commercial exploitation of both adults and children, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division.
It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, and took law enforcement agencies to streets, motels, casinos and social media platforms, Hosko said. He said he hoped it would focus attention on sex trafficking, “this threat that robs us of our children.”
The pimps preyed in particular on troubled children, including children from broken homes, authorities said. In some of the cases, they used a popular online classified site, Backpage, to sell the children for sex, authorities said.
“The pitches tend to be: Girls are enticed with compliments or offers, do they want to make some money,” Hosko said. “Then they are trapped into this cycle that involves drugs, that involves physical abuse. It may involve torture.”
Criminal charges against the 150 will include human trafficking, authorities said.
An estimated 240,000 children in the United States are considered at risk of sexual exploitation.