This sting is part of Operation Cross Country VIII. FBI investigators have been partnering with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to address the problem of child prostitution since 2003. Since then, they have recovered more than 3,000 children.
James Comey the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, "these are not faraway kids in faraway lands, these are our kids on our street corners our truck stops our motels our casinos, these are america's children."
What Comey had to say is a hard pill to swallow for parents. Kids around the nation are targeted by pimps then sold. The Case Analysis Division Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said, pimps are finding the children through social media sites.
"Kids are posting information about themselves and some of the difficulties that they're having in their lives and the things that they're struggling with and the pimps are using that information against these teens," said Staca Shehan from NCMEC.
168 juveniles were recovered in the nationwide sting targeting commercial child sex trafficking. Two kids from the Champaign area are no longer under the control of a pimp. In all, 281 pimps are off the streets thanks to a week-long enforcement action. Across the United States, the largest number of pimps were arrested in Arizona. Twenty-one suspects are now behind bars in Phoenix. In Denver, 18 kids were being victimized through prostitution. In Chicago, 13 children were recovered and four pimps were arrested.
Comey said, "the lesson of operation cross country is that our children our not for sale. That we will respond and crush these pimps who would crush these children."
They prey on innocence and then use them to their advantage.
John Ryan the CEO of the NCMEC said, "collectively we must acknowledge and care for all children, particularly those who have suffered difficulties and feel alone in the world. They come from all our communities yet they are invisible except to the pimps."
However, through each operation, more and more kids become free and not a victim of a nightmare.