Speakers include: narrator, Thomas Nunemaker Section
Chief, FBI Violent Crimes Section; Supervisory Special Agent Melissa
Washington Filed Office Child Exploitation Squad; and Ernie Allen,
CEO, National center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Narrator: In a hotel suite in Northern Virginia,
the FBI and local police have set up a sting.
They’re not looking for crooked politicians or drug pushers.
They’re looking for juveniles caught up in a web of prostitution—and
the pimps who control them.
Thomas Nunemaker: “We find, as a target base, the average
age that they’re preying on is like 12 to 16 years old, although
in our investigations we’ve found victims as young as nine
Narrator: The sting was part of a three-day operation—dubbed
Operation Cross Country II—that recovered 49 kids in 29 cities
as part of our ongoing Innocence Lost National Initiative.
This particular rescue operation began on the Internet. An agent
surfs the web looking for young-looking prostitutes advertising
their services. He makes contact, and agrees to meet in Room 403.
Next door, film cameras are secretly rolling.
Melissa Morrow: “When they arrive and the police, undercover,
elicit certain statements, that individual is detained and we then
proceed with debriefing and try to identify whether or not the
individual is a juvenile.”
Narrator: In this sting, no young girls are rescued—but
five adult prostitutes and one pimp are arrested.
And the resulting intelligence from those arrests may provide
clues that might lead to juvenile victims of sex trafficking, who
have been called throw-away kids—teens and even pre-teens
who are essentially hiding in plain sight.
Thomas Nunemaker: “People ask us quite often, where does
it occur? It occurs in the streets. It’s what we refer to
as street tracks. It occurs at truck stops. It occurs at major
events. It occurs at casinos, night clubs, vacation spots. But
with the use of the Internet, it can happen anywhere anytime.
Narrator: One of our key partners is the National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children, which kept tabs of successes in its Virginia
headquarters as the operation unfolded across the country.
With its help and the work of 29 multi-agency task forces nationwide,
we’re unraveling how child prostitution networks are organized
in the U.S. So far, 575 kids have been rescued.
You can help expose these networks. If you see or suspect underage
children being sexually exploited, report it. Call your nearest
FBI office or the National Center’s toll-free hotline at
Ernie Allen: Innocence Lost is identifying these organized criminals
and bringing them to justice … I’d like to send a simple
message to every American: “If you see it in your city, if
you hear about it, if you suspect it, report it."
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