Long Beach police joined forces with the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Homeland Security and detectives from Los Angeles, Pomona, Claremont and other cities nationwide in a sex trafficking sting that yielded 149 victims and 153 pimps over the weekend, the FBI announced on Monday.
The youngest victim uncovered in “Operation Cross County IX,” which took place Wednesday through Sunday nationwide, was 12 years old. Numerous adult prostitutes and their clients were also arrested.
“Combating the sex trafficking of minors is a commitment the FBI and many of our law enforcement partners make every day,'' David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office said. “On a yearly basis, the coordinated effort made during ‘Operation Cross Country' raises public awareness and highlights the need to collectively deal with this critical issue plaguing American cities and our youth.''
The operation was spearheaded by the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and spanned 53 FBI field offices and 73 child exploitation task forces, covering 135 U.S. cities. The initiative was the largest in the National Center’s nine-year history, according to the FBI.
Non-governmental organizations also assisted in the sting, including the Dream Center, Saving Innocence and the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking.
City News Service contributed to this report.