Nationwide Human Trafficking Sweep Nets 60 Arrests In OKC

Monday, July 29th 2013, 10:12 pm
By: News 9

A nationwide human trafficking sweep across 76 American cities resulted in 150 arrests last week. Sixty of those arrests occurred here in Oklahoma City.

The coordinated effort between local police agencies and the FBI was known secretly as "Operation Cross Country."

7/29/2013 Related Story: FBI Raids In OKC, Other US Cities, Rescue Kids Forced Into Prostitution

Gary Johnson of the FBI says the local effort actually led to the rescue of three girls in their mid-teens who were being prostituted out.

"The exploiters target the under-aged girls because it's easier for them to do that than try to exploit a 25-year-old prostitute. It's a lot easier to exploit a 15 or 16-year-old runaway," Johnson said.

Charlie Lamento is a former criminal prosecutor in Kansas City, who now works exclusively in Europe, in an effort to free young women from being forced into a life of prostitution in the United States.

"It's hit the Midwest," said Lamento. "It's in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. It is organized crime exactly. I mean look at the number of states the FBI had to get involved."

While he concentrates his efforts now in Prague, in the Czech Republic, Lamento says people who have information about human trafficking should feel free to contact him on Facebook.

"The numbers are astronomical," said Lamento. "I mean worldwide we're talking about hundreds of thousands of human beings."

Operation Cross Country stretched across 76 cities across America. There will be more operations like it, because this is a problem that just keeps getting bigger.