Prostitution rings from New York to Hawaii forced more than 30 children as young as 12 to have sex at truck stops, hotels and brothels, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Friday, announcing a government crackdown.
Nineteen people have been arrested among 31 who have been charged with sexual trafficking in children, taking minors across state lines for prostitution and other crimes, he said.
Indictments in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania target the purported operators of four child prostitution rings. Some of the children had been reported missing or had run away because they had been abused at home, FBI assistant director Chris Swecker said.
In Detroit, a grand jury charged four Ohio residents with forcing two girls, 14 and 15, to have sex at a truck stop in Michigan. The girls had been held as virtual prisoners in Toledo, Ohio, where they were told to address one defendant, Deric Willoughby, as "Daddy," and taken to hotels for prostitution. Their payments were eventually turned over to Willoughby, the indictment said.
"If you're bright as a pimp, and thank God a lot of them aren't, you move them every two to three weeks."