The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday said that 105 children involved in sex trafficking and exploitation have been recovered in 76 cities across the US over the weekend.
At a news conference, the agency said that authorities also arrested 150 pimps in a-three-day nationwide raids, adding that the youngest victim rescued was 13.
“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 that the FBI remains committed to stopping this cycle of victimisation and holding the criminals who profit from this exploitation accountable.”
It was the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children, according to NBC news.
The pimps preyed in particular on troubled children, including children from broken homes or with a history of abuse, low self- esteem, and little social support, authorities said.
Forty-seven FBI divisions took part in the operations, along with more than 3,900 local, state and federal law enforcement officers and agents from 230 separate agencies.
The latest operation was part of the Innocence Lost Initiative, which has resulted in more than 2,700 children being recovered from trafficking and sexual exploitation since 2003.