FBI child sex trafficking operation: 2 rescued in the valley - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

FBI child sex trafficking operation: 2 rescued in the valley

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More than a hundred children, rescued from pimps. FBI agents say they freed the teenagers in a series of coordinated raids in dozens of cities across the country.

The victims, almost all girls, range in age from 13 to 17. And a couple of the teenage girls were found here in the valley.

The FBI is calling this Operation Cross Country. Nationwide, 105 teenagers were rescued from prostitution rings.

Locally, the FBI, working with Phoenix and Scottsdale Police, rescued 2 teenage girls.

This is FBI video of stings from across the country. Over a 3 day period FBI agents and local authorities targeted 76 cities. The two girls rescued in the valley were 16 and 17 years old.

"The pimps target kids that are vulnerable. Maybe they have issues at home or school things like that. The pimps do it on line or in person, they build confidence and trust in these individuals, offer a different lifestyle," says FBI Special Agent Mark Hoffman.

Supervisory Special Agent Mark Hoffman wouldn't tell us too much about the local operation, but nationally, agents arrested 150 pimps.

"Not all the time, to have enough to arrest the pimps or charge them at the time, but the federal investigation continues."

Hoffman says the pimps hold the teenage girls physically and psychologically captive.

"People often ask the question why they can't escape the lifestyle. A lot of times these pimps are watching them. They keep them held captive for the fact that the individual, the child does not have any money, does not have telecommunications with the outside -- folks, family, friends -- to be able to call for help."

The FBI says most of the children came from the foster care system or are runaways.

The agency provides counseling and support to the rescued girls and tries to reunite them with family or friends.

The largest numbers of children rescued were in San Francisco, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans.

Related story: FBI raids rescue 105 kids forced into prostitution

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