Child prostitutes were the focus of a recent FBI anti-sex-trafficking operation in which a total of 168 juveniles were recovered nationwide. The sting rounded up suspects in more than 100 cities and involved 54 FBI divisions. In Houston, four kids were recovered, as were four pimps, according to the Justice Department.
In all, 281 pimps were arrested around the country.
Task force operations, according to the Justice Department, "Target truck stops, casinos, street 'tracks,' and websites for dating or escort services."
Child prostitution has been targeted as a growing problem in the U.S. by a coalition of law enforcement agencies working on the issue since 2003, when the FBI created the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The FBI jurisdictions with the largest roundups of child prostitutes include Denver (18), Cleveland (16), Chicago (13), Atlanta (11) and Los Angeles (10).
The FBI offices that arrested the most pimps included Phoenix (21), Jackson (19), New Orleans (17), Atlanta (15), San Francisco (13) and Seattle (13).
"Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation," according to a Justice Department statement about their methods. "Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states."
The victims in this case aren't necessarily children brought in from other countries, but domestic sex trafficking, some reports suggest.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.