FBI and local law enforcement crackdown on child sex trafficking
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Children sold into the sex trade is not just something out of a TV drama. It's a reality and it's happening closer to home than you may realize.
There's a positive side to the most recent arrests. Two 17-year-olds were taken out of the dark world of sex trafficking in Mississippi.
"This is really just a snapshot," noted Donald Always, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. "This is 48 hour period. This could happen anywhere and it actually does."
Twenty-two adults were arrested within Hinds, Madison and Warren counties last week. More of the same were found throughout the country.
"The initiative is aimed at locating and removing children who are being sold as sex slaves by area gang members and pimps," said Alway.
The most recent arrests were in Central Mississippi but previous operations have found the same problems throughout the state.
"A lot of times you think this is a problem that most often affects large metropolitan areas," added Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace. "I think the results of this investigation last week shows that communities as small as Vicksburg and Warren county are no less worried about."
Internet ads are a common way the FBI and local law enforcement track down the pimps and rescue the children.
"It's one method that's used," said Alway. "Folks are going to areas of the Internet that they think are going to only be visited by suspects looking for this type of contact. But we're here to tell you that if somebody answers an ad, that could be us on the other end."
That's how one girl was rescued from the situation last week. The other 17-year-old had been classified as a runaway.
The charges for those 22 adults ranged from soliciting prostitution to child endangerment and drug charges.
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