A sting to catch juveniles forced into child-sex slavery in Mississippi, landed 28 adults in jail according to the FBI. But officers didn't rescue any children.
Last week, law enforcement officers spent two days in a sting operation staking out hotels in Jackson, Ridgeland and Southaven, hoping to rescue underage victims of prostitution. It's part of an international effort called "Operation Cross Country." The FBI partners with state agencies including the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and local police departments on the sting. Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance.
"We've seen cases before where a young girl maybe lured into a situation where she's drugged. Next thing she knows she's five or six hundred miles away from home and doesn't know how she got there. So she's forced to try and earn her keep through prostitution," said Vance.
During the operation, officers arrested 28 adults, but didn't find any juveniles. FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Luis Quesada says their work continues.
"If any arrest even of an adult leads us to further intelligence or leads us down the road to be able to identify anyone who is trafficking juveniles that's what we want. We want the organization," said Quesada.
Of those arrested 22 are charged with prostitution, five for being pimps and one on drug charges. Officers also confiscated two pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle. Authorities say Operation Cross Country raises awareness about the heinous crime of child-sex trafficking.