HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - As part of a nation-wide crackdown on child prostitution, the FBI recovered a 17-year-old juvenile and other young adults being victimized through prostitution.
Operation Cross Country VIII ended on Sunday. It's a national operation that took place in 106 cities representing 68 Child Exploitation Task Forces across America. OCC8 is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, an ongoing national initiative targeting the criminal enterprises responsible for the commercial sex trafficking of children.
In North Alabama, the FBI, and its partners recovered one juvenile victim, arrested three suspected pimps and identified four other pimps. The CETF also identified 14 adults participating in prostitution, ranging in age from 19 to 34.
According to the FBI, some of the adult victims had been forced to engage in prostitution since they were juveniles. In Birmingham, a six-week-old baby was also rescued during the operation.
Undercover agents and detectives made contact with the young women. The victims were offered services in the community, such as housing, counseling, and medical assistance, and each were provided personal items through the FBI's Victim Witness Assistance Program.
FBI Director James Comey had strong words for the people responsible for the trafficking.
"They are the people that are killing the souls of our children," Comey said, "who, by their actions, are snuffing the light out of the most vulnerable and the most promising of our people. The lesson of Operation Cross Country is that our children are not for sale. We will respond and crush these pimps who would crush these children."
Birmingham Police Department, Huntsville Police Department, Hoover Police Department, Vestavia Hills Police Department, Madison Police Department, Pelham Police Department, Madison County Sheriff's Office, Moody Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) participated in the operation.