In an effort to target underage prostitution and rescue children from commercial child sex trafficking, California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents, who are members of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), recently assisted the FBI and local law enforcement officers in a 72-hour operation called Operation Cross Country VII.
"In California, Operation Cross Country VII resulted in the rescue of 22 juveniles and the arrest of 38 pimps in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Not only am I proud of our CSLEA members/ABC agents for the work they do daily to protect young people in our state, I'm proud that CSLEA supported Proposition 35 last November. It increases the prison terms for sex traffickers and requires those convicted to register as sex offenders."
On July 26-28, Operation Cross Country VII took enforcement action in 76 cities across the country and recovered 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution. One hundred and 50 pimps were arrested on state and federal charges.
ABC agents also helped in Operation Cross Country VI last month which led to the recovery of six children being victimized as prostitutes in Chico, Redding, Sacramento and Vallejo. That operation resulted in the arrest of six people accused of selling juveniles for sex.
"Most Californians are unaware of the vast responsibilities of ABC agents," said Kevin Highbaugh, ABC agent and president of the California Association of State Investigators (CASI). "We work with federal, state and local agencies on drug, alcohol, gang, cartel and sex trafficking cases. Being able to rescue young people who are victimized by pimps everyday is a 'good day's work.'"