Skip to content

Bay Area child sex trafficking stings lead nationwide effort

on October 28, 2008



OCT. 28 –Thirteen juveniles have been taken into custody in the Bay Area and 123 adults have been arrested as part of Operation Cross Country II, a nationwide effort to combat the sex trafficking of children, law enforcement officials announced this morning.

Bay Area operations are responsible for almost 25 percent the juveniles apprehended, and a fifth of nearly 650 arrests nationwide, said FBI spokesman  Joe Schadler. “A bulk of the national work was done in this area,” he said.

Across the country, scores of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies cooperated to arrest 642 people and take 47 children into custody between Wednesday and Monday. Officials credit the high rate of arrests in the Bay Area to ongoing investigative work by local agencies and information gleaned from past Oakland Police Department initiatives like  “Operation Strikeout,” a 2007 prostitution sting operation that netted 113 arrests.

“The problem of child exploitation really hits home here on the streets of Oakland,” said Oakland Police Department Assistant Chief Howard Jordan. “This is a very big problem, one of our daily concerns.” The juveniles taken into custody in this operation will be enrolled in rehabilitation programs run by groups like the Sexually Exploited Minors Network, he said. “These kids aren’t treated as suspects, more as victims.”

The youngest girl apprehended in the investigation was 13 years old, said FBI Special Agent Vida Bottom. “Every day, these girls work for little more than a meal and a roof over their heads,” she said.  And when a girl so young is involved in prostitution, it’s almost always because of violence, coercion, abduction or addiction, Bottom said.  

“They have no hope of getting out of there unless located by local law enforcement,” said San Francisco Police Department Captain Albert Pardini. 

“We cannot give these girls back their childhoods,” said Bottom.  Officials can only hope, she said, to give them a chance at a brighter future.

 “The problem of child exploitation really hits home here on the streets of Oakland,” said Assistant Chief Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department. The juveniles taken into custody in this operation will be enrolled in rehabilitation programs run by groups like the Sexually Exploited Minors Network, Jordan said. “These kids aren’t treated as suspects, more as victims.”  

Joseph Russoniello, US Attorney for Northern California, links high rates of prostitution in the Bay Area to local tolerance of the sex trade. “There always seems to be this attitude that this is not a big deal,” he said. According to Russoniello, efforts like this show that prostitution is not a victimless crime. “There are people out there who are aggressively attempting to recruit girls as young as 12 or 13 for prostitution,” he said. The problem, he said, crosses all racial and ethnic lines. “It’s really the enslavement of a whole class of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Local agencies arrested 102 adults for prostitution, but only 15 for pimping and pandering. However, law enforcement agencies hope to use testimony from those recently taken into custody to build federal cases against the people responsible for procuring child prostitutes, Russoniello said.||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||


  1. Tessa Ray on March 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Everyday it seems you hear of an innocent child being assaulted. I think we should have more resources in place to eliminate these perverts.

  2. Andrew Bailey on September 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have a web site & blog about managing staff issues so I know I’m talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top