WASHINGTON - In what it called the largest crackdown to date on child prostitution, the FBI says a three-day raid nationwide resulted in the rescue of 105 children, including three in Houston.
The FBI announced Monday that the raids over the weekend resulted in 150 arrests, with 105 children rescued.
Authorities said the operation, which took investigators to race tracks and truck stops, also targeted the use of social media sites for child prostitution activity.
Overall, the three-day undercover roundup Operation Cross Country took place in 76 cities and involved 230 law enforcement units, according to the FBI.
The FBI said three teenage girls, ages 15, 16 and 17, from the Houston area were recovered. The Houston FBI said the girls were working as prostitutes and no arrests were made.
The FBI says the crackdown puts a spotlight on a serious problem threatening our youth -- an issue that Houston-based Children At Risk works to address year round.
"It's all about bringing attention to the fact that trafficking is happening. These are domestic girls. It's not an international issue when it comes to this program," said Dr. Bob Sanborn with Children At Risk.
The organization works with lawmakers on laws that can better address the issue and help its young victims. Dr. Sanborn says after these operations comes the tough task of helping the victims put their lives back together.
Raids by Dallas FBI and San Antonio FBI resulted in a combined five arrests and two recovered teens.
"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."
Hosko noted that a prime environment for prostitution activity, including child prostitution, is major sporting events.
The ages children rescued ranged from 13 to 17, Hosko said.
Part of the FBI's Innocence Lost National Initiative, the operation was the seventh and largest sweep to date, according to Hosko.
It included 28 searches with 129 seizures of cash, drugs, vehicles and firearms, he said, and those arrested face a variety of charges, including pimping.
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