PUEBLO, Colo. - The Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office participated in a three-day nationwide event called Operation Cross Country over the weekend of June 21, 2014.
Detectives focused on the areas of E. 4th St., Lake Ave, and an apartment complex and massage parlor/spa in the 1000 block of Eagleridge Blvd.
During the two day sting, the sheriff's office says twelve men were arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Eleven females, all adults, were arrested for prostitution. In addition, four females were arrested for being accomplices to prostitution.
The only underage contact made was with a 15-year-old runaway, who admitted to prostituting in the past but was not witnessed soliciting. She was returned to her guardian.
Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said the effort was a success, "If we saved one juvenile this weekend, it was a win," says Taylor, "The girl was reunited with her guardian and given resources to help her when she struggles next time. What's more is, every time we shine a spotlight on this crime, it becomes more difficult for it to continue."
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was created in 2003 by the FBI in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Its goal is to address the growing problem of domestic child sex trafficking in the United States.