WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Three people were arrested in West Springfield, nabbed during a three-day, nationwide law enforcement operation to stop the exploitation of underage children through prostitution.
The FBI says that as part of the 72-hour nationwide enforcement action, known as the Innocence Lost National Initiative, the West Springfield Police Department and Hampden County Sexual Predator Task force conducted an undercover operation in West Springfield on Saturday.
Three individuals were arrested in West Springfield on charges of prostitution and one juvenile was recovered during the arrests.
Mark Karangekis, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent for the FBI’s Springfield office, says “Sexual exploitation of children is everywhere. Johns go online to meet up with prostitutes that often wind up being sexually exploited children that are part of the sex trade. This type of activity often occurs where there are large areas of motels and truck stops.”
In addition to West Springfield, undercover operations were conducted in Saugus and Malden, with 11 other arrests, 10 of which were on prostitution charges and one on drug charges.
Nationwide, 79 children, including the one in Massachusetts, were recovered during this operation.
Also, the FBI says that 104 pimps arrested nationwide by local and state law enforcement during the enforcement.
“Child prostitution remains a major threat to children across America,” says Kevin Perkins, acting executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, adding that “It is a violent and deplorable crime, and we are working with our partners to disrupt and put behind bars individuals and members of criminal enterprises who would sexually exploit children.”