Federal officials rescued 52 children and arrested nearly 700 people over the last three days in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution, the Los Angeles Times reports. Almost 1,600 agents and officers took part in the raids, following investigations in 36 cities. Included in the arrests were 60 suspected pimps, according to the FBI and local police officials. The youngest victim was 10.
The sweep, dubbed Operation Cross Country, is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, started in 2003 to address child sex trafficking. The initiative has rescued nearly 900 children; led to the conviction of 510 pimps, madams and their associates; and seized $3.1 million in assets. “We’re having an enormous impact on this business,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.