WASHINGTON, D.C. – A total of at least 20 people were arrested during an international crackdown on sex trafficking. The FBI says Cross Country 10 was the biggest sweep in its history of trying to stop the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
In Portland, one child was rescued and 10 adults were cited or arrested for prostitution. In Eugene,10 more prostitutes were arrested. Altogether, the FBI reports that 239 pimps and their “associates” were arrested in the United States and 82 children were rescued. Among those 82 children were two sisters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, aged 16 and 17 who told authorities their mother was their pimp and she also rented out their brother’s room to a man who is a registered sex offender.
For the first time, other nations also engaged in similar sweeps. Operations were run in Canada, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand.
In Thailand, an American citizen who is a registered sex offender was arrested after coercing five Filipino girls, ages 14 to 16, to take sexually explicit photos of themselves and send them to him online. In the Philippines, two boys aged 11 and 15 and a two-year-old girl were rescued when five adults were arrested for operating a web-streaming service showing child sexual abuse as well as offering access to the children for illegal sexual acts.
Cross Country crackdowns are part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative which began in 2003. Since it began, more than 6,000 children have been identified and recovered from child sex trafficking and prosecutors have obtained 30 life sentences in cases against the traffickers and their associates.