The FBI has arrested more than 880 adults nationwide on exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution charges. There was a separate crackdown of Somali gang-members on similar charges. Meanwhile, Hilton Hotels is finally promising not to ignore sexual exploitation on its properties.
The massive FBI crackdown took place in collaboration with state and local authorities in 40 cities, and included the arrest of 99 pimps. Sixty-nine child prostitutes between the ages of 12 and 17 were taken into custody; the largest single concentration of them was in Seattle.
They were found via "truck stops, casinos, seedy city streets, websites and chat boards." The Chicago Sun Times cites one online ad that was rather pointed in its references to youth: it "advertises her as young and says she can be hired for $400 an hour. 'She is young but she knows all arts of seduction and lovemaking at its best. In her company, the night never sees its dawn.'"
Separately, twenty-nine people were arrested for sending girls, some younger than 13, to Nashville over the course of the past decade for the purpose of prostitution. The government says they were affiliated with Somali gangs that included Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws.
Here's another ray of sunshine: a campaign by Avaaz.org to get Hilton Hotels to get the chain to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism has been a success. The campaign came about after news that Hilton Hotels were serving as brothels in Ireland and China; over 300,000 signatures and threat of ads being placed in the CEO's hometown seem to have done the trick. According to Avaaz,
Hilton joins over 900 travel companies that have agreed to train staff to detect and report trafficking victims, educate guests about sex trafficking, and work with suppliers and partners to end child sex trafficking. To date, the Code affects 30 million tourists a year — vastly increasing the chances of arresting those trafficking girls and helping those trapped in the trade. Hilton is the largest hotel chain to commit to this effective code of conduct, while Choice Hotels, Best Western, Hyatt, and Wyndam are among those that have so far refused to sign.
Next stop, Best Western?
Feds Rescue 69 Child Prostitutes; Bust 99 Pimps And Hundreds Of Other Adults In Nationwide Sting [NYDN]
Somali-American Gangs Targeted In Child Sex Crimes Bust [AFP]
Operation Targets Child Prostitution [Sun-Times]