BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — 47 FBI divisions and more than 3900 local, state and federal law enforcement officers spent three days with one mission: stop child exploitation.
"This is an abhorrent crime. This is just evil for the exploitation of children. It's just bad," S.S.A. Charles DeLaughter, with the FBI, described.
More than 100 teenagers involved in sex trafficking and prostitution in more than 70 cities are now safe. It's all part of the FBI's "Operation Cross Country VII."
DeLaughter said the mission was a success. They rescued two teens in Baton Rouge and arrested 21 people during the sweep.
"We have the over sight and the ability to see things across state lines to encourage this information sharing and to work these cases with our state and local partners to identify these children," DeLaughter said.
DeLaughter explained the New Orleans Division, which includes Baton Rouge, ranked fifth in arrest and recovery for this sting.
"It's very much a problem here and we continue to address it and we are. This is a constant reminder that this is not going away. we have to continue to be vigilant and we are," He said.
Delaugher said pimps target young people trying to fill a void in their life.
"Where this all begins is you have run-a-ways that are without anything," He described.
Others fall victim to "Peer pressure".
Delaughter says the nation wide efforts like "Operation Cross Country VII" are working to help end the cycle.
"Since it began in 2003 we've had 2700 children recoveries. We've had over 1300 convictions with jail sentences ranging from 15 years to 50 years so it is a big problem and it's taken seriously by the court," He said.