WASHINGTON — Federal officials rescued 52 children and arrested nearly 700 people over the last three days in a nationwide crackdown on child prostitution.
Almost 1,600 agents and officers took part in the raids, which followed investigations in 36 cities, according to the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Included in the arrests were 60 suspected pimps, according to the FBI and local police officials.
Authorities say the youngest victim was 10.
In Southern California, two children were rescued in Riverside, and four adults were arrested, said Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman. Four suspected customers of child prostitutes were arrested in Orange County.
"It is repugnant that children in these times could be subjected to the great pain, suffering and indignity of being forced into sexual slavery for someone else's profit," Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer said in a statement. He added that the latest raids show that "the scourge of child prostitution still exists on the streets of our cities."