DETROIT: Child Sex Trafficking Bust Rescues 10 Youths, Arrests 18 Pimps

By Tresa Baldas on July 30, 2013 for the Detroit Free Press—
“A beaten teenage girl, held against her will in a hotel room. Two prostituted teens, rescued from a home. A fourth child caught in an undercover sex sting.

The troubling details are part of the latest federal crackdown on child prostitution, which over the weekend led to the recovery of 10 juvenile victims and 18 pimp arrests across metro Detroit — a region that saw the second-highest child sex slave rescues in the country.

FBI agents, along with local and state law enforcement officials, spent 72 hours combing the streets of 76 cities and scrutinizing websites, looking for child sex trafficking victims.

They found plenty in metro Detroit, most of them older teenage girls held against their will in motels or houses in cities that included Farmington Hills, Madison Heights, Romulus, Detroit, Southfield and Flint.

According to the FBI, out of the 76 cities involved in the crackdown, more pimps were arrested in metro Detroit than anywhere else. The largest number of children — 12 — were recovered in San Francisco; metro Detroit was in the No. 2 spot with 10 minors rescued.

In total, 150 pimps were arrested nationwide and 105 children ages 13-17 were recovered, signaling to all that “child prostitution remains a persistent threat to children across America,” said FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko.

“This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere,” Hosko said.

According to the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force, which has rescued more than 160 local children from sex traffickers since 2007, the latest operation led authorities to teenage prostitution victims across metro Detroit, including:

■ In Madison Heights, a 17-year-old female was rescued Saturday night from an Econolodge Hotel, where she was being held against her will and beaten. Police said another prostitution arrest yielded information that led police to the hotel, where they recovered the girl. Four adults were questioned and released. Charges are expected.

■ In Flint, a 911 call led police to a home, where they rescued two 17-year-old girls who were being assaulted and forced into prostitution. Sheriff’s deputies with the Genessee County Sheriff’s department showed up and rushed the girls out of the home. A suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, was arrested and charged.

■ In Farmington Hills, police received a 911 call about two 17-year-old girls being forced into prostitution at a local hotel. The case is still under investigation and police are trying to identify suspects.

■ In Southfield, a 17-year-old girl was rescued in another prostitution ring that was busted during an undercover sting at an unnamed hotel. The teenager, who just turned 17, was in the room and removed by police.

■ In Romulus, a search of a website where people meet for sexual relationships led police to a 17-year-old girl, who was rescued from a home.

■ In Detroit, a website known for prostitution led police to a 16-year-old girl, who was being prostituted at an unnamed local hotel and had information about her posted on the website.”

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