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Clothing, family, healthcare among priorities for former child sex workers

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Photo courtesy: FBl Photo courtesy: FBl
Almost 170 children were rescued from sex trafficking during last week's Operation Cross Country VIII, a nation-wide prostitution sweep lead by the FBI."These are our kids, on our street corners, our truck stops, our motels, our casinos," FBI Director James B. Comey said following the sweep. "These are America's children."

Of the three children rescued in Louisiana, one was found in Shreveport. FBI spokesperson Mary-Beth Romig says the others were located in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Related article: Shreveport Police assist in nationwide human trafficking sweep

These children gain immeasurable freedom overnight, but what happens next is often a long and painful process of rebuilding.

"It was a cooperative effort with one goal in mind, and that was to look for children who are exploited and are forced to engage in this sort of activity," Bossier City Police's Mark Natale said of the operation.

The FBI's Victim Assistance Organization will work with these kidoffering basicscs like clothing, as well as sexual assault exams, STD testing, and psychological counseling.

So many of these children are runaways or abandoned by their caretakers so the agency will contact family for them.

"What we can do is spend a ton of time giving them the good wrap-around services, connect them with other providers, helping them reunite with family and rebuild from where they are," FBI victim specialist Dani Geissinger-Rodarte said. "[It's] up and onward because we can't go back."

Louisiana operations included arrests of 16 pimps and 75 prostitutes.

Results from across Louisiana broken down by city are as follows:
  • Alexandria: 2 pimp and 5 adult prostitutes arrested
  • Baton Rouge: 1 child recovered, 3 pimps and 17 adult prostitutes arrested
  • Lake Charles: 1 pimp, 10 adult prostitutes arrested
  • Monroe: 3 adult prostitutes arrested
  • New Orleans: 1 child recovered, and 17 adult prostitutes arrested
  • Shreveport: 1 child recovered, 10 pimps arrested and 23 adult prostitutes arrested
According to Romig, "Law enforcement officials also seized four vehicles, cash, cell phones, Heroin, methadone, xanax, marijuana, synthetic marijuana and other narcotics."

Related link: FBI - Human Trafficking Awareness

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