The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gives Attorney General Loretta Lynch four Pinocchios for giving “wildly inflated statistics” on sex trafficking cases at a conference this month in Rwanda. Lynch’s speech to the Interpol General Assembly included references to the FBI’s Operation Cross Country, a sting operation that the bureau said resulted in “the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 pimps and other individuals.” A news release said the “enforcement action” took place in 135 cities. DOJ spokesman Peter Carr blamed an editing error for a Lynch reference to “hundreds of sex traffickers,” but the Post says DOJ can’t provide evidence that “hundreds of sex traffickers” have been arrested through Operation Cross Country.
A Justice Department-funded study of children in the sex trade in New York City and Atlantic City found that 90 percent of the children reported that they had no pimp. That would suggest that even with 738 children recovered In Operation Cross Country since 2008, the number of associated pimps (“sex traffickers”) was under 100. The Post concludes that even DOJ’s revised language for Lynch “is misleading and unproven, given there have been no records kept of the number of pimps who were arrested specifically for trafficking in underage children.” The Fact Checker says, “The goal of rescuing children from the sex trade is laudable, but the effort is undermined when the statistics are cooked.”