Children rescued in national sex trafficking sting

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SAN DIEGO — A nationwide crackdown on sex trafficking resulted in the arrests of six suspected pimps in the San Diego area, along with the rescues of 37 victims, including two minors, authorities announced Monday.

ProstitutionThe enforcement effort, dubbed “Operation Cross Country VIII,” took place over the last several days in 106 U.S. cities and led to a total of 281 arrests and the recovery of 168 juveniles being forced to engage in prostitution, according to the FBI. All the victims have been offered support services.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn said her agency was “committed to protecting our children, through efforts such as Operation Cross Country, but also through our investigative and continued law enforcement efforts to take down the pimps trafficking children and adults.”

“The FBI will continue to remove sexual predators from society and provide children and adults the services they need to recover from their involvement with human trafficking,” Hearn said.

The sweep took place as part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, established in 2003 to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,400 minors from being exploited. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy prison sentences, including 14 life terms, and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets, according to the federal agency.