Posted Feb 05, 2014 03:38 pm CST
Sixteen child prostitutes ranging in age from 13 to 17 were rescued during a sex-trafficking crackdown in the weeks before the Super Bowl, the FBI announced on Tuesday.
Forty-five pimps and their associates were arrested in the operation that took place following six months of preparation, the FBI said in a press release. The Associated Press, the New Jersey Star-Ledger and Reuters have stories. A separate Star-Ledger story has a higher number of juveniles rescued; it puts the figure at 25 in New Jersey alone.
Investigators responded to ads on websites like CraigsList and BackPage and pretended to be johns, according to supervisory special agent Thomas Hauck of the Newark field office, who spoke with the Star-Ledger. Meetings would be arranged, resulting in arrests and rescues.
More than 50 adult prostitutes were rescued, the AP story says. The FBI provided food, clothes and other services to those rescued, including referrals to shelters and health-care facilities.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office created a Super Bowl sex-trafficking task force soon after learning the game would be held in the state, according to the AP story. The FBI was one of the law enforcement partners.