Seven children freed in Las Vegas in nationwide sex trafficking bust

An FBI operation that targeted pimps and the commercial sex trafficking of minors across the U.S. last week recovered seven juveniles and arrested two pimps in Las Vegas.

Nationwide, 168 youths were recovered and 281 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges during the eighth Operation Cross Country, according to a release by the FBI.

The operation included actions in 106 cities across 54 FBI field divisions as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, established in 2003 to address the growing problem of child prostitution.

To date, FBI task force partners have recovered nearly 3,600 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences — including 14 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.

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. Investigations frequently uncover organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states, the FBI said.

“These are not children living in some faraway place, far from everyday life,” said FBI director James Comey in a press conference from FBI headquarters Monday. “These are America’s children.”

“There is no more meaningful work that the FBI does than rescuing children,” he said.

Contact Wesley Juhl at and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.