A cross-country raid over the weekend has resulted in the rescue of 105 teens involved in sex trafficking and exploitation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on Monday.
Ronald Hosko, the assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, said at a press conference Monday that the raid, part of Operation Cross Country, took place across 76 cities and is one of the largest efforts of its type ever carried out by the FBI. The ages of the victims ranged from 13- to 17-years-old.
The 72-hour crackdown also resulted in the arrest of 150 pimps, said Hosko, adding the FBI targeted a number of venues including truck stops, motels, casinos, and internet sites.
FBI officials said the teens were often enticed by compliments and the promise of making money. “They are trapped in this cycle that involves drugs, it involves physical abuse, it may involve torture,” said Hosko.
The profile of the pimps ranged from individuals and small groups to larger organized criminal activity. Authorities said the pimps will face charges, including human trafficking.
“We must remember that these children are victims,” said John Ryan, the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said at the press conference. “They are too young to consent to having sex.”