• FBI: 281 pimps arrested, 168 child prostitutes recovered in sex trafficking bust

    Updated:

    FLORIDA - FBI officials said they've recovered almost 200 children who were being victimized through prostitution, and WFTV found out at least eight of those children are from Florida.

    The nationwide sex trafficking bust is known as Operation Cross Country.

    Many of the women involved in the nationwide prostitution sweep were never even reported missing. Authorities said many of them were children who grew up in broken families and were trying to find a way to fit in and survive.

    "The youngest, I want to say I've seen is 13," an undercover officer told WFTV.

    Operation Cross Country reportedly put 281 alleged pimps behind bars and rescued 168 child prostitutes in more than 100 cities from Florida to California.

    "These are our kids on our street corners, our truck stops, our motels, our casinos. These are America's children," said FBI agent James Comey.

    Some of the children are runaways, and many of them were lured into the life by men offering love and affection.

    One victim told WFTV, "I was 17 and a half. The guy said, 'Oh, I'll take you home. We'll go to the mall first.' He kind of wheedled me into it. I was scared."

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