FBI: Children rescued in sex-trafficking crackdown, 7 in Las Vegas

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI says agents and local police in the last week rescued 168 victims of child sex trafficking, including many who had never been reported missing.

In addition, 281 pimps were arrested as part of the same nationwide initiative, an annual enforcement push known as Operation Cross Country.

FBI Director James Comey told reporters Monday that the children who were rescued did not come from faraway lands but were instead "America's children."

According to the FBI, seven children were rescued in Las Vegas and two pimps were arrested. Denver had the highest number of children rescued at 18 with 11 pimps arrested. Volunteer

at 10,000 Kids Lailani Clark knows the struggles of sex trafficking and has seen her friends deal with it in a similar situation. Clarke also portrayed the living nightmare of a victim in the documentary called "Trafficked No More."

"When you are that young, your mind is easily manipulated and that's what these men do," Clark said. "They go for their mind, and they make them believe. they are loved."

The organization's mission is to improve the lives of young people in communities especially those forced into the sex trade. It is headed by Pastor Troy Martinez.

"This is a relevant issue and they are facing this every day at school, on their way home from school, in their community, on the weekends at parties," Martinez said. "This is important and an important issue to address."

Authorities said there are several reasons why Las Vegas is at the top of the industry. Tourists from around the world play a big part, but our social systems have issues as well.

"We know many of our kids, unfortunately, the foster care children who are aging out of foster care, are prime targets for some of these pimps for sex trafficking," Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said.

This is the eighth such week-long operation. The FBI says nearly 3,600 children have so far been recovered from the streets.

Comey says one worrisome trend is the increasing prevalence of children being prostituted online.


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