The FBI has rescued more than 45 suspected teenage prostitutes in a nationwide sweep to remove kids from the illegal sex trade and punish their accused pimps, the Associated Press reports. Over the three-night Operation Cross Country, federal agents working with local law enforcement arrested more than 50 alleged pimps. Agents in cities including Miami, Chicago, and Anchorage took part. The prostitutes ranged in age from 13 to 17.
Federal authorities rarely take part in prostitution crackdowns, but the FBI is becoming more involved as it tries to rescue children caught in the business. “The goal is to recover kids. We consider them the child victims of prostitution,” said the FBI’s Daniel Roberts. “‘Unfortunately, the vast majority of these kids are what they term `throwaway kids,’ with no family support, no friends. They’re kids that nobody wants. They’re loners. Many are runaways,”