Victor Powell, 22, a Chicago pimp known as Mr. Cream, took his juvenile prostitutes on the road to Minnesota, St. Louis and Arizona, prosecutors allege. When he crossed state lines, Powell opened the door to federal prosecution, says the Chicago Tribune. The case is the first federal prosecution of juvenile sex trafficking in Chicago. FBI agents hope it will prove a powerful symbol to criminals who are now the top priority of the bureau’s criminal investigation division, said FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker.
The Justice Department set sex trafficking of children as a top priority two years ago, but many plans are just beginning to emerge. The government identified the 13 American cities that have the biggest problems. They demanded that multiagency task forces be set up in each community to investigate pimps and coordinate therapy and housing for the victims. Now the FBI is getting ready to dedicate teams of agents in each of the cities to focus solely on busting the traffickers, Swecker said. “In the post-9/11 period in the criminal division, we’ve had to really do some searching as to what’s at the core of our criminal mission,” Swecker said. “If we have a choice of working a violation–being a major theft, bank robbery or working a child abduction case–we’re going to go after this type of egregious exploitation of children.”