DENVER (CBS4) – The arrest by federal officials of 150 pimps across the country and in Denver in a three-day sweep highlights what the Denver district attorney says is a growing problem: child prostitution.

RELATED: FBI Says Children Rescued In Colorado Prostitution Sweep

“It has gotten worse and actually what we’re starting to see is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mitch Morrissey.

Operation Cross Country

An image from the FBI’s “Operation Cross Country” (credit: FBI)

Morrissey said pimps often move prostitutes around from city to city, making it harder to track them down.

“Mostly we’re seeing groups that are bringing young women — girls — in to Denver, not keeping them here for very long and then transporting them to another city,” he said.

The victims are often homeless or abused children with unstable lives.

“Sometimes they have run away, maybe they have been sexually assaulted at home by a stepfather or father. They may have drug issues,” Morrissey said.

Morrissey said the men who buy the services are just as much a part of the problem.

“The bottom line is money, and one of the big problems we have is that there are people out there that are buying these services,” he said.

Police say saving even just one child makes a difference.

“This is degrading, this is violent and these are people that are at risk, and I think anytime we can pull a juvenile out of that situation, it’s a major victory,” Morrissey said.


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