The online ad generated an overwhelming response: Little girls. “$young $$younger $$$youngest.” The Kansas City Star says the “pimp” who offered to sell 11- and 15-year-old girls for sex was a police officer. The men who answered it found themselves under arrest as part of a novel law enforcement approach to combating a disturbing crime. Federal prosecutors yesterday described their first-in-the-country use of a commercial sex-trafficking law to go after would-be customers of child prostitution. Previously only pimps have faced prosecution under the statute. Since Operation Guardian Angel began earlier this year, seven would-be customers, including four indicted yesterday, have been charged.
Predators who prey on child victims are the ones who create the demand that traffickers seek to profit from, said acting U.S. Attorney Matt Whitworth. Investigators believe that each time they catch a suspect, they are protecting a child from being victimized, said Independence Police Chief Tom Dailey. “It's one of the vilest crimes that police have to investigate,” Dailey said.