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."
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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.