FBI releases sex trafficking sting results

October 28, 2008 7:07:11 PM PDT
The FBI released the results of a recent nationwide sex-trafficking sting Tuesday. There were more than 100 arrests in the Bay Area and a dozen children who had been forced to work as prostitutes were rescued.

One quarter of the 47 children rescued during the FBI's nationwide child sex trafficking sting were found right here in the Bay area.

One woman named Nicole has worked as a prostitute in Oakland for the past eight months and says she's seen girls as young as 11 working the streets.

"The young girls get more money because they are yonger, and the tricks, that's what they like," she told ABC7.

The FBI and Justice Department say the problem, particularly the one in the Bay Area, is rampant.

"These are not women who are coming to this business as a matter of free will on a volunteer basis," said U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello.

During the three-day sweep federal investigators working with local police officers arrested more than 600 people around the country. 136 arrests were made in the Bay Area including 102 adult prostitutes and 15 pimps. Authorities rescued 12 juveniles including one girl who was on California's missing children list.

Prostitution is not just an inner city problem. The FBI sting recovered child prostitutes all around the Bay Area including suburbian places like San Mateo, Concord and San Rafael.

Vida Bottom, the FBI agent in charge of the sting says, "We cannot give these young girls back their childhood. We may not never be able to heal their scars. But what we can do everyday is do our best to end their exploitation."

Police arrested five people at a hotel just one block away from the Oakland International Airport. Investigators say the lead on that bust came from craigslist.org.

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster Tuesday pointed out Tuesday that the company uses a number of measures to protect minors. In a statement issued the same day Buckmaster said, "Exploitation of minors is a heinous crime, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families."

Authorities say the youngest child prostitute they rescued in the sting was just 13-years old.

"It's just like your little sister or brother. You've got 30-or 40-year old men beating on a little girl," said Nicole.


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