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Child Prostitutes Rescued in Seattle

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FBI photo.
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In a recent FBI prostitution sting in California, children are taken into custody. The latest nationwide operation netted more child prostitutes and pimps here than in any other region.

Does Seattle have more child prostitutes than other cities? During a three-day crackdown, the FBI picked up more young prostitutes in this area than anyplace else. But, there could be another reason for the high number.

The latest FBI sweep, called Operation Cross Country V, resulted in the arrest of 99 pimps. Agents also rescued 69 teenage prostitutes. Twenty-three of them were from our area, in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

"Fortunately or unfortunately, for the last three years Seattle has led the nation in the number of juvenile victims that have been recovered," said Steven Dean, an FBI spokesman.

But, he says it doesn't necessarily mean the problem is worse here. Dean points out there are dozens of task forces around the country participating in the sweeps and it could be that law enforcement here just puts more of an effort into it. 

"We're hitting it pretty hard here and so the more you look the more you find," he said.

Dean said all of the juvenile prostitutes have either been returned to their families or put in protective custody. The youngest was 13.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.