The Long Beach Police Department cracked down on human traffickers over the weekend as part of a nationwide sting called Operation Cross Country.
"Over the course of the weekend we made 60 arrests," said Long Beach Police Cmdr. Rick Farfan. "We rescued two minors, two were sixteen and one adult woman."
Operation Cross Country is a nationwide four-day infiltration, initiated by the FBI. It is designed to rescue victims of sex trafficking and arrest the suspects who enslave them.
Of those arrested, three were for sex trafficking and three were for pimping. All others were made for prostitution and drug-related crimes, according to police.
Long Beach streets that were once heavily occupied by prostitutes appear less crowded, but according to police, that’s because the sex trafficking business, especially of children, is thriving online.
"People who frequent strip clubs or go online looking for sexual lewd acts are actually contributing to human trafficking," Farfan said.
Children are the focus of this FBI crackdown and awareness campaign, but those targeted are the enablers who have stolen their childhoods.
"Indeed it really can be anybody’s daughter," said Dr. Stephanie Powell with the Mary Magdelene Project, 'because it involves force and it involves coercion."
Of the 106 cities that participated in Operation Cross Country, 168 children were rescued and 281 pimps were arrested, according to the FBI, making this operation the largest and most successful to date.
The Long Beach Police Department asks anyone who is, or has been, a victim of human trafficking to contact their Vice Investigations Detail at (562) 570-7219.
Anonymous tips can be reported by calling 1-800-222-TIPS or vising www.lacrimestoppers.org.