WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – A massive sweep by the FBI, local and state law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children rescued more than 100 sexually exploited children over the weekend.
The sweep netted a total of 150 arrests of pimps and other individuals involved in criminal activity. Overall, the sweep took place in 76 cities and was the single largest enforcement action to date by the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
Forty-seven FBI divisions took part in Operation Cross Country VII, along with more than 3,900 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and agents representing 230 separate agencies.
In South Florida, 40 FBI personnel and over 120 local law enforcement personnel participated in the arrest operations in South Florida. A total of six pimps and 35 adult prostitutes were arrested in South Florida during the sweep.
According to the FBI, since its creation in 2003, the ILNI has resulted in the recovery of 2,700 children who have been sexually exploited and led to the convictions of multiple pimps including eight who are now serving life sentences in federal prison.