Drop in the Bucket, But Every Drop Counts

[Trigger warning for sexual violence against children.]

So, there was a huge FBI sting called Operation Cross Country V this weekend, a product of ongoing investigations into the sexual exploitation of children, which resulted in more than five dozen (!) children being rescued from sexual slavery and nearly 900 arrests of adults suspected of involvement with adolescent sex slaves.
FBI spokesman Jason Pack said 69 children were removed from prostitution and 99 suspected pimps were arrested in 40 cities across 30 states and the District of Columbia. Authorities arrested 785 other adults on a variety state and local charges, Pack said.
Prostitution connotes at least the possibility of consent. These children were not prostitutes.

(And thanks a shitload, MTV, for rendering "pimp" into a word that evokes images of garishly decorated automobiles, rather than a garbage nightmare of a human being who forces children into sexual servitude.)

All of the children who were found during the sting were aged 12-17. "Authorities are working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to confirm their identities," so that the children can be returned to their families (where appropriate). Children not safe with their families of origin will be placed into protective custody for the time being.
[FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry] said child prostitutes are often recruited by loose knit groups that seek out kids who may be involved in drugs or runaways looking for a "responsible adult" to help them.

"There are groups of people out there preying on naive kids who don't have a good sense of the way of the world," Henry said. "Sometimes there's a threat of force, threats of violence. A lot these kids operate out of a sense of fear."
And, ya know, out of trust and ignorance. Because they're children. I mean, any child who isn't naive to "the way of the world" when it comes to sexual exploitation is a kid who's probably already been victimized by sexual violence.

This isn't about what kids know or don't know. It's about dangerous, despicable, and determined predators. Let's try to keep the responsibility for this horror where it belongs. Which is directed at the AP, who almost certainly focused exclusively on the parts of Henry's statement that sounded the most like the axiomatic victim-blaming of exploited children that is so popular with the many purveyors and beneficiaries of the rape culture. (Like Bill O'Reilly.)

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