NL- You have to wonder how many of the parents thought their kid was dead…..
700 arrests across country as FBI rescues children from sex trade
by Chris McGrel
The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/27/fbi-rescues-children-from-sextrade
Tuesday 27 October 2009
The FBI says it rescued 52 children, one just 10 years old, from prostitution rings during nationwide raids that led to nearly 700 arrests. There were arrests in 36 cities after a surveillance operation of children sold for sex on the internet, on streets, in casinos and at truck stops.
Among those detained were 60 pimps, who face lengthy prison sentences for child trafficking. About 1,600 officers were involved in the three day operation.
“It is repugnant that children in these times could be subjected to the great pain, suffering and indignity of being forced into sexual slavery for someone else’s profit,” said the assistant attorney general, Lanny Breuer. “The scourge of child prostitution still exists on the streets of our cities.”
Most of the children rescued during the operation – known as Cross Country IV – were teenage girls.
The investigation is part of the “innocence lost” national initiative launched six years ago to combat child sex trafficking.
The initiative has resulted in the conviction of 510 people for child sex related crimes, including pimping, and the rescue of nearly 900 children, according to the FBI. Some of those convicted were given multiple life sentences.
The FBI said: “Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organised efforts to prostitute women and children across many states.”
Ernie Allen, who heads the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which worked with the FBI on the operation, said: “Child trafficking for the purposes of prostitution is organised criminal activity using kids as commodities for sale or trade. This is 21st century slavery.”
Child welfare groups estimate that around 2 million children a year run away from home in the US, and that many of them are lured into prostitution or pornography to survive.
The justice department says there is an “epidemic” of commercial sex activity among children living on the streets. It says more than half of street girls are engaged in prostitution, many of them beginning between 12 and 14 years old.
“Pimp-controlled commercial sexual exploitation of children is linked to escort and massage services, private dancing, drinking and photographic clubs, major sporting and recreational events, major cultural events, conventions, and tourist destinations,” the department says.
“About one-fifth of these children become entangled in nationally organised crime networks and are trafficked nationally. They are transported around the United States by a variety of means – cars, buses, vans, trucks or planes – and are often provided counterfeit identification to use in the event of arrest.”
Sergeant Nicole Donnelly of the Miami police said that several children freed in raids in the city would be taken into care. “We are hopefully recovering these juveniles and putting them in different types of programmes to get their life back on track where they should be,” she said.