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U.S. Child Prostitution Crackdown

November 10, 2010

News Article

This past weekend, a federal crackdown on child prostitution in the United States led to the arrest of 884 perpetrators  (including 99 pimps) and the recovery of 69 children.  A part of a cooperative of federal agencies called the Innocence Lost National Initiative, Operation Cross Country took place across 40 U.S. cities for three days last weekend. Seattle, WA had the greatest number of children rescued (16), followed by Tacoma, WA and Sacramento, CA.  Detroit, MI had the highest number of pimps arrested.  For more information, you can read the full CNN article here.

“Once again, Operation Cross Country has awakened the nation to the fact that today American children are being marketed and sold for sex in American cities,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in a written statement. “These kids are victims. This is 21st century slavery. We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary partnership to rescue children, save lives and bring the pimps and operators to justice.”

The SOLD Project’s mission is to prevent child exploitation. While SOLD’s primary focus is prevention through education, law enforcement crackdowns like this play a crucial role in prevention as well. Prevention is done in two ways: by reducing the supply of vulnerable kids—like we’re doing by offering scholarships and resources to the at-risk children of Northern Thailand—and by reducing the demand for child prostitution. Many subtle factors can help reduce demand, from awareness campaigns and societal pressures to shifts in cultural norms, but one sure-fire way to discourage would-be pimps and pedophiles is to publicly demonstrate through tough laws and strict enforcement that there’s a very good chance they’ll be caught—and justly punished—for exploiting a child. Many thanks to the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative and so many other domestic and international anti-trafficking organizations whose efforts are so important to preventing child exploitation in the U.S. and beyond. Keep up the fight.

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