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FBI busts underage prostitution ring saving 105 children, arresting 150 pimps

Most of the freed youths are young teenagers aged 13 to 16, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, speaking today
Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, speaking today
Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

A STING FOCUSED on underage prostitution has freed 105 sexually abused youths and netted 150 pimps, the FBI has announced.

The extensive, three-day sweep took place in 76 US cities in conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), it said in a statement.

Most of the freed youths are young teenagers aged 13 to 16, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

“Our goal is that child trafficking is openly discussed,” he told reporters. “We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it… to put them (the children) out of the cycle.”

NCMEC CEO John Ryan said the sting, dubbed Operation Cross Country, “demonstrates just how many of America’s children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet.”

BBC News reports that the largest number of arrests and children saved took place in San Francisco in California.

The youngest child was 13 and had been prostituted in locations including truck stops, casinos, and motels.

- additional reporting Hugh O’Connell

Read: China busts trafficking ring, 89 children rescued

Read: Irish children have been trafficked for ‘criminal’ purposes – report

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