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FBI investigation results in arrest of 150 pimps, recovery of 106 child prostitutes

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

The FBI in Charlotte and across the nation conducted a three-day operation known as Operation Cross Country VII, which led to the recovery of 106 children involved with prostitution as well as the arrest of 150 pimps.

The national bureau worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide.

“Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Check back at www.charlotteobserver.com for more information on this developing story.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; On Twitter: @earriero
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