The sweep was the largest of it's kind to date, hitting 76 cities…including
CBS 47’s Lemor Abrams is live at Fresno Police headquarters with more on the bust.
“Sex trafficking among women remains one of the most unconscionable crimes in this country,” said Assistant Director of the FBI Ronald Hosko.
The FBI worked tirelessly on a nationwide prostitution sting…arresting 150 pimps, rescuing over 100 children.
“The youngest victim recovered through this initiative is only 9 years old,” said Hosko.
But Fresno Police Sgt. Curt Chastain says, the battle against human trafficking continues everyday.
“We have numerous cases that we work in conjunction with the FBI today,” said Chastain.
The Fresno Police Coalition Against Human Trafficking was formed to help find young girls online or on the street…where they're sold.
And they no longer treat them as prostitutes, but as victims.
“What they may have observed as a victimless crime in the past--prostitution--that could not be farther from the truth,” said Chastain.
Getting the victims off the street is only the beginning.
Police team up with faith base groups like
“It’s just so empowering to hear their testimonies and their stories. What they've been through. Having guns put in their heads, being stripped naked and driven out in the mountains,” said Connie Muir-Smith with The Fresno First Baptist Church.
Connie goes into bad neighborhoods...where traffickers prey on young girls...and gets people involved.
“Not to shame but just to ask them to get involved with the children daughters wives sisters nieces and nephews...ask them-is there something going on that we need to talk about?,” she said.
Carissa Phelps is a local survivor of sex trafficking...and a success story.
In her book, runaway girl she talks about being abandoned by her mother, victimized and forced into prostitution...at just 12 years old.
Today she helps break girls away from the "lifestyle" and stay out.