60 Arrested in Arizona prostitution sweep

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- FBI officials say a crackdown on spots in Arizona popular for prostitution activity has led to more than 60 arrests as well as the recovery of several victims.

The FBI's Phoenix office said Monday that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies targeted specific sites last week in multiple cities, from Phoenix to Yuma, as part of the agency's annual Operation Cross Country enforcement action.

Special Agent Douglas G. Price says authorities have found five children and 42 adults who were being exploited for prostitution.

Price says they will be offered victim services.

Authorities say officers and agents focused on truck stops, casinos, streets and online escort services.

They arrested 21 pimps and 41 johns, who will face state and federal charges.

Police departments from around metropolitan Phoenix, Yuma and the Arizona Department of Public Safety took part in the sweep.

This year's sweep was the eighth of its kind and the largest to date. Nationwide, a total of 168 trafficking victims were recovered and more than 280 pimps arrested.

"These are not children living in some faraway place, far from everyday life," FBI Director James Comey said at a press conference Monday at FBI Headquarters. "These are our children. On our streets. Our truck stops. Our motels. These are America’s children."

"The law enforcement community of Arizona will continue to work collaboratively to combat the crime of commercial sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children through prostitution," Price said. "Women are not for sale in Arizona."