The FBI announced late Monday that a three-day national law enforcement sweep, including the Northwest, focusing on teenage prostitution led to the rescue of 79 children and the arrests of 104 alleged pimps.
Operation Cross Country took place from June 22 to June 24 in Portland, Seattle and 55 other cities and involved more than 2,500 officers at the local, state and federal levels.
Teenagers, aged 13-17 years old, were rescued from hotels, truck stops and store fronts and were being held in custody until they could be placed in social service organizations. Seventy-seven of the victims are girls.
Ernie Allen, the president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, estimates that at least 100,000 minors are victims of child prostitution and trafficking every year. This past weekend's sweep was the sixth of its kind since 2008. To date, 2,200 children have been rescued through the program.