BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A nationwide operation by the FBI to address commercial child sex trafficking led to the recovery of 167 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Three of those children were found in Louisiana.
Louisiana results included the recovery of three children and the arrest of 16 pimps. Also arrested were 75 prostitutes. The operation included enforcement actions in six cities throughout Louisiana, namely New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport and Monroe.
In Baton Rouge, one child was recovered, three pimps were arrested and 17 prostitutes were arrested.
One of the busts happened at Motel 6 on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, just north of I-12, according to an arrest report by the Baton Rouge Police Department.
The report says an undercover detective, posing as a customer, contacted the juvenile victim through an ad on the Backpage website. The undercover officer went to the hotel room and arranged for him to pay $80 for 30 minutes of sex. The report states the detective quickly learned she was working for someone.
Police called for backup and the alleged pimp, Derrick Granger, was arrested.
"These are not faraway kids in faraway lands. These are our kids, on our street corners, our truck stops, our motels our casinos. These are America's children," said James Comey, FBI Director.
Investigators say oftentimes they are runaways who are never reported missing.
Once the juveniles are found, an intervention and crisis team works with them to help them heal. Head of the Department of Justice Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, says what social workers learn about the victims lives with their so-called pimp is stunning.
"They use fear. They use force. They treat children as commodities of sex that can be sold over and over again," said Caldwell.
FBI Director Comey hopes these arrests send a clear message - America's children are not for sale.
In other cities across Louisiana, more arrests and recoveries were made.
In New Orleans, one child was recovered and 17 prostitutes were arrested.
In Alexandria, two pimps and five prostitutes were arrested.
In Lake Charles, one pimp and 10 prostitutes were arrested.
In Monroe, three prostitutes were arrested.
In Shreveport, one child was recovered, 10 pimps and 23 prostitutes were arrested.
Total, 260 pimps were arrested in 106 cities across 37 states. Law enforcement officials also seized four vehicles, cash, cell phones, Heroin, methadone, xanax, marijuana, synthetic marijuana and other narcotics.
To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,400 children from being exploited. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 14 life terms.