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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

Sex-trade sting yields arrests

Area law-enforcement agents arrested 17 people accused of prostitution and four alleged pimps over the weekend in northwest Ohio as part of a nationwide underage sex-trade sting, authorities said.

Seven child victims were located or identified, and authorities detained seven individuals in Fulton County on immigration charges whom they believe were also involved in prostitution activities with juveniles at residences maintained by migrant farm workers, according to the FBI.

The effort was part of Operation Cross County 4, which was conducted in 36 cities nationwide. It rescued 52 children from prostitution, some as young as 10 years old.

The Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force took part in the initiative in Lucas, Fulton, and Allen counties. Toledo is considered a recruitment hub for the underage sex trade for its proximity to highways and other large Great Lakes cities.

Altogether 691 people, including pimps, were arrested nationwide during the three days of raids, the FBI said.

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