Four kids rescued from trafficking in Oakland

June 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Four girls are no longer out on the streets out on the streets of Oakland being forced to turn tricks. They were saved as part of a nationwide prostitution sting involving underage girls.

Operation Cross Country was a nationwide FBI sweep that targeted child prostitution in 16 cities.

"We together have no higher calling than to protect our children and to safeguard their innocents," said Robert Mueller, the FBI Director.

Nearly 400 adults were arrested and 21 children were rescued, including four off the streets of Oakland.

"We're seeing more and more girls coming from out of California into Oakland, California which is now becoming the hub for exploiting minors," said Debbie Hoffman, from C-Care: Community, Clergy, and Recovery Effort.

Hoffman, is an intervention counselor, who works with a non-profit called C-Care. She was involved in the five-day sweep, that also arrested 12 adults in Oakland. Hoffman hits the streets regularly to offer help. For every 20 prostitutes she encounters, Hoffman says five are minors. The youngest she has seen out here was 10 years old.

"Just a little girl. You know, not developed. Very petite. I would almost say, not fed right," said Hoffman.

The children found in the FBI sweep were prostituting themselves down in an area known by hookers as The Track. It runs the length of International Boulevard and San Pablo Avenue.

The FBI says most of them are from broken homes who meet pimps on social networking sites. They strike up a relationship, move in, and are quickly threatened into working the streets. $100 to $300 a John, and the pimp gets everything.

"When you come from nothing you demand nothing," said Hoffman.

The FBI says the most vulnerable are runaways who become dependent on pimps who feed, clothe, and house them. The FBI says it amounts to modern day slavery.


Load Comments