The FBI arrested 150 people across the United States, including one in Chicago, for holding children against their will for prostitution, a three-day weekend sweep that officials on Monday called the largest-ever operation of its kind.
The suspects were arrested in 76 U.S. cities and are expected to face state and federal charges related to sex crimes and human trafficking, FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials said at a news conference.
Eighteen pimps were arrested in Detroit, 17 in San Francisco and 13 in Oklahoma City, according to the FBI. One pimp was arrested in the Chicago area, according to the release.
FBI agents and local police recovered 105 children, including 2 in Chicago, during the operation at truck stops, motels, casinos and other places where they were held against their will for prostitution, officials said. Twelve children were recovered in San Francisco and 10 each in Detroit and Milwaukee, according to the FBI.
The person arrested in the investigation in the Chicago area was hit with local charges, so FBI Chicago spokeswoman Dana McNeal said she had no details on the person's arrest, including in which what jurisdiction the person was charged.
Naperville police worked with 11 FBI agents on Thursday, making four misdemeanor prostitution arrests, but finding no children forced into prostitution nor any pimps, according to a release from Naperville police. Naperville police did not disclose information on where the four were arrested. Police also confiscated marijuana and cash in the arrests.
According to the FBI, among the agencies involved in the Chicago FBI's work in the operation were the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Chicago Police Department the U.S. attorney's office, Amtrak Police, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police, and police in Alsip, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Bedford Park, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Lansing, and Rockford.
Children who are most vulnerable to being exploited for sex crimes are between 13 and 16 years old without strong ties to family members, officials said.
"We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it," said FBI Assistant Director Ronald Hosko.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun