Six rescued, 76 arrested across La. in FBI operation - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Six rescued, 76 arrested across La. in FBI operation

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Six juveniles rescued, 76 arrested in Louisiana during Operation Cross Country VII.

During the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) conducted Operation Cross Country VII. The operation was a three-day enforcement action to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States. It included enforcement actions in 76 cities across 47 FBI divisions nationwide and led to the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, 150 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.

"Child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America," said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere, and the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable."

"The success of the Louisiana element of this national initiative could not have been achieved without the relentless investigative efforts of our state, local and federal law enforcement partners with our FBI Agent and Professional Staff assigned throughout the state," said Michael Anderson, Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans Division.

Across Louisiana, 76 arrests were made, and six children were recovered, four in the New Orleans area and two in the Baton Rouge area. Below is the breakdown from across the state, and the participating agencies:

New Orleans: collaboration with Louisiana State Police, NOPD, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office

Juveniles recovered: 4

Pimps: 1

Adults (prostitutes): 17

Baton Rouge: collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police,  Louisiana Attorney General, East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Baton Rouge City Police Department, Office of Juvenile Justice, East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office, United States Attorney's Office – Middle District of Louisiana, Louisiana State Probation and Parole Department of Children and Family Services, DELTA Task Force

Juveniles recovered: 2

Pimps: 1

Adults (prostitutes): 21

Shreveport: collaboration with Louisiana State Police Bossier Marshals Office, Shreveport PD, Bossier PD,Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Webster Parish Sheriff's Office, Claiborne Parish Sheriff's Office, Minden PD, Air Force OSI, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana State Juvenile probation office, Springhill Police Department

Juveniles: 0

Pimps: 1

Adults (prostitutes): 11

Alexandria: collaboration with Louisiana State Police, Alexandria PD

Juveniles: 0

Pimps: 1

Adults (prostitutes): 7

Lake Charles: collaboration with Louisiana State Police, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's Office

Juveniles: 0

Pimps: 2

Adults (prostitutes): 8

About Operation Cross Country

Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and NCMEC, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

"Operation Cross Country demonstrates just how many of America's children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet," said John Ryan, CEO of NCMEC. "We're honored and proud to partner with the FBI, which has taken the lead in tackling this escalating problem."

To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

Task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street "tracks," and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with U.S. Attorney's Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.

The Innocence Lost National Initiative brings state and federal law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers from across the country to NCMEC for training.

The FBI said they thank the local, state, and federal law enforcement partners representing more than 230 separate agencies who participated in Operation Cross Country VII and their ongoing enforcement efforts.

Resources: To learn more about Operation Cross Country and the Innocence Lost National Initiative, visit www.fbi.gov, www.justice.gov, or www.ncmec.org.

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