February 24, 2009 in Nation/World

Teenage prostitutes netted in roundup

Nationwide action aims to free kids
Devlin Barrett Associated Press
 

State impact

 Ten teenage prostitutes have been rescued in Western Washington and 35 people have been arrested as part of a nationwide sweep, FBI agents said.

 Most of those arrested in Washington state will be charged under state law, but three accused of pimping could face tougher federal charges, FBI Agent Roberta Burroughs told the Seattle Times.

WASHINGTON – The FBI has rescued 48 suspected teenage prostitutes, some as young as 13 years old, in a nationwide sweep to remove kids from the illegal sex trade and punish their accused pimps.

Over a three-night initiative called Operation Cross Country, federal agents working with local law enforcement also arrested more than 571 suspects on a variety of federal and state prostitution-related charges, the bureau said.

The teenage prostitutes found in the investigation ranged in age from 13 to 17.

“We may not be able to return their innocence but we can remove them from this cycle of abuse and violence,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Meanwhile, in Memphis, Tenn., a man pleaded guilty Monday to federal civil rights charges for sex trafficking in minors. Leonard Fox faces at least 10 years in prison after admitting that he arranged for underaged girls to engage in sex for money.

“To sexually prey upon young girls in this manner for financial gain is particularly damaging to the victims and an affront to the society in which we live,” said Loretta King, acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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