16 juveniles rescued in Super Bowl-related sex trafficking stings
Dozens of agencies and organizations, including the FBI, rescued 16 juveniles from sex trafficking rings in the two weeks prior to Super Bowl XLVIII. More than 50 adult women were rescued, and 45 pimps were arrested, reports LifeSiteNews.
Huffington Post reports the efforts took several months, and required “training for legions of law enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, airport employees and others on identifying the signs of sex trafficking.” It involved a task force set up through the New Jersey Attorney General's office. The head of the Violent Crimes Against Children unit with the FBI, Michael Osborn, told Huffington Post that officers working to prevent sex trafficking noticed a spike in advertisements and suspects beginning to travel.
Taryn Offenbacher, communications director for anti-trafficking non-profit Shared Hope International, told LifeSiteNews.com that “[such] operations begin with local officers targeting common venues in the commercial sex industry: hotels, truck stops, online classified sites and street prostitution 'tracks.'”
“Using information they gain by tracking these venues, the operation grows to include federal, state and local law enforcement agents,” said Offenbacher. “They begin to identify suspected traffickers, victims, buyers and facilitators and find reason to make an arrest. The success of Innocence Lost Initiative operations can be attributed to the strong collaboration among law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and social service providers.”
Information on sex trafficking is difficult to quantify due to the underground nature of the crime. Studies analyzed and documented by the think tank Just Facts show that former prostitutes often are brought into the field before the age of 18, and even 16 years old. “A survey of 104 prostituted juveniles arrested from 2007-2008 in Clark County, Nevada, found that 78% of them wanted to leave prostitution,” reports Just Facts.