FBI's sex trafficking sting nets 17 arrests in the ArkLaTex

FBI's sex trafficking sting nets 17 arrests in the ArkLaTex

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A nationwide child trafficking sting carried out by the FBI netted some arrests in the ArkLaTex.

The 72-hour nationwide operation is credited with rescuing more than 100 children who were reportedly forced into prostitution, and the dragnet reached Shreveport and Bossier city.

It's called "Operation Cross Country," and it's the largest sting of it's type conducted under the FBI's "Innocence Lost" initiative. 150 alleged pimps were arrested in the three-day sweep of 76 cities.

None of the 105 children rescued were in the ArkLaTex, but that dragnet did scoop up six people in Bossier City.

Undercover officers posed as prostitutes and "Johns" and made contact with the suspects via the internet, and police say all of those arrested agreed to meet at a designated location for the purpose of having sex in exchange for money.

11 were arrested in Shreveport. A woman from Texarkana, AR was also arrested in Alexandria, LA for prostitution as part of the sting. Many of those arrested are from out of state. They can be viewed in this photo gallery.

The FBI says the operation focused on the commercial exploitation of both adults and children.

The FBI says their success rate doubled from prior operations as they focused on the use of the internet, specifically a website called backpage.com. "We will continue to look to backpage and to those other forums where pimps and exploiters gather, and we will try to penetrate those forums so that our success rate doubles again," said Ronald Hosko, the Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal Investigations Division in announcing the results of the sting on Monday.

The operation included 28 searches with 129 seizures of cash, drugs, vehicles and firearms, as well as other personal items estimated to have a value of over $165,000.

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