Wow, this is pretty impressive:
345 arrested, kids rescued in prostitution busts
Hundreds of people have been arrested and 21 children rescued in what the FBI is calling a five-day roundup of networks of pimps who force children into prostitution.
The Justice Department says it targeted 16 cities as part of its “Operation Cross Country” that caps off five years of similar stings nationwide.
As a libertarian, I think prostitution is a victimless crime and the cops should butt out, but that certainly doesn’t apply to child prostitution. This sounds like a very good thing, and I should probably congratulate the FBI and the Justice Department for their fine work.
Except…I’m cynical enough to have a few doubts. I’ve seen this sort of thing before. The feds have a tendancy to find some genuinely awful crime and then try to smear it around onto as many people as they can.
I don’t know any of the actual details, but I would not be surprised if the 345 arrestees break down something like this:
- 30 evil fuckers who’ve forced children into prostitution.
- 20 evil fuckers who’ve paid to have sex with those children.
- 40 people who paid to have sex and had it with these children, but weren’t intentionally trying to have sex with children.
- 60 people who are pimps only in the legal sense that they received proceeds from the prostitution, such as landlords, babysitters, hotel owners, doctors, pharmacists, and drivers.
- 160 people who in some way technically involved themselves in the conspiracy (e.g. answering phones, giving someone a ride, passing messages between conspirators, temporarily holding the money). 100 of these will be adult prostitutes working in the same rings as the children, and 90 of those will be former child prostitutes who are now old enough to be counted as criminals instead of victims.
- 30 people against whom there is no evidence whatsoever, but they’re being charged with obstruction because they lied to the feds when questioned.
- 5 people who are being charged under a theory that no one has ever seen used before.
I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but when I read a little further into the article, I spotted one sign I might be right: 290 of the arrestees are adult prostitutes.
(We could learn more. With that many arrests, there’s a small but real chance one of them will be represented by someone I know in the legal blogosphere.)