Five pimps and two juvenile prostitution victims were discovered in the High Desert after a sex trafficking sweep on June 20, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials. Authorities did not identify them or say where they were found.
The Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Division investigated incorporated and unincorporated areas of Victorville and Hesperia in conjunction with a week-long, nationwide effort called Operation Cross Country, which is aimed at recovering victims of human trafficking.
Nationwide, the FBI reported 281 pimps were identified and 168 minor victims were rescued. The operation concluded on Friday, but Eimiller said the trafficking taskforces work full-time, year-round to find minors and pimps.
“This was just one week,” Eimiller said. “But it is not uncommon for the taskforces to find minors and pimps throughout the year.”
More than 500 agencies and 106 states nationwide participated in Operation Cross Country.
According to the FBI, the individuals identified as pimps in the local operations are being held on state charges. As the taskforce continues to investigate, federal prosecution may be considered.
Anneli Fogt can be reached at AFogt@VVDailyPress.com or 760-951-6276.