POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 11:03am
UPDATED: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 3:37pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Six juveniles have been recovered and six people have been arrested in New Orleans as part of a nationwide underage prostitution sting.
During the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children conducted Operation Cross Country VII, a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States.
The operation included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide. Baton Rouge was one of those cities included in the operation. At least 18 people were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for various charges related to prostitution. However, none of those cases seemed to be linked to human trafficking.
The nationwide effort led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 150 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.
“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 the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.
“Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America’s children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet,” said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. “We’re honored and proud to partner with the FBI, which has taken the lead in tackling this escalating problem.”