The FBI recovered 168 children and arrested 281 people on pimping charges during a nationwide sting coordinated through federal, state and local law enforcement agencies last week, the bureau announced Monday, part of a decade-long effort to combat child sex trafficking.
The sting, the eighth in a series of efforts called Operation Cross Country, recorded the most recoveries and pimping arrests since the first operation in 2008.
The operation was run out of 54 field divisions in 106 cities. The youngest child recovered was 11 years old, FBI Director James B. Comey said at a press conference at the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building.
The top five cities with the most number of recovered children were Denver, 18; Cleveland, 16; Chicago, 13; Atlanta, 11; and Los Angeles, 10.
The leading cities for arrests were Phoenix, 21; Jackson, Miss., 19; New Orleans, 17; Atlanta, 15; and Oklahoma City, 14.
While a complete range of statistics regarding the children recovered and people arrested was not immediately available, officials said almost all of them were Americans.