According to the FBI, “Operation Cross Country—a three-day nationwide enforcement action focusing on underage victims of prostitution—has concluded with the recovery of 105 sexually exploited children and the arrests of 150 pimps and other individuals.”
The sweep took place in 76 cities and was carried out by the FBI in partnership with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as part of the Bureau’s Innocence Lost National Initiative. It is the seventh and largest such enforcement action to date.
“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
Alex was one such victim.
At age 15, faced with a difficult family situation at home, she decided to leave and stay with a girlfriend and then an aunt. When that didn’t work out, she found herself on the street—with an abusive boyfriend who wanted to pimp her out.
“You learn quickly that the only people who are really willing to feed you, clothe you, and shelter you are your parents,” she said. “So I had to figure something out.” (See below video).