Sixteen children as young as 13, and some of whom had been reported missing by their families, were rescued from the sex trade in a law enforcement sting operation that targeted alleged pimps who brought the victims to New Jersey for Super Bowl weekend, FBI officials said.
More than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested in the operation conducted by law enforcement, the FBI announced Tuesday. Some admitted traveling to New Jersey from other states for the purpose of forcing women and children to have sex with Super Bowl tourists for money, according to federal investigators.
“High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement.
The victims rescued during the sting operation range in age from 13 to 17 years old, the FBI said.