The FBI announced today that it has rescued about 105 teenage victims of sex trafficking and exploitation in more than 70 cities across the country.
Authorities also arrested 150 pimps in raids this weekend, the FBI announced.
The youngest victim was 9 years old, and most were between the ages of 13 and 17.
This effort was the FBI’s largest focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, according to NBC News.
Pimps prey on vulnerable children with a history of abuse, low self-esteem, and little social support, officials said Monday.
“We must remember that these children are victims,” said John Ryan, CEO of the National centre for Missing and Exploited Children. “They’re too young to consent to having sex. … [These pimps] sell them on streets in every city in America.”
Pimps and gangs sometimes use social media to recruit young people into prostitution and sex trafficking in affluent areas.
Officials also pointed to Backpage, the controversial website owned by Village Voice Media that has come under fire for its large share of prostitution ads. The FBI and Department of Justice used this website to recover some of the children involved in sex trafficking.
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