Two children were rescued and numerous prostitution-related arrests were made in the metropolitan area, including Arlington Heights and Naperville, as part of a nationwide crackdown aimed at combating sex trafficking of minors, authorities said Monday.
The FBI said authorities saved 105 young people, almost all girls ages 13 to 17, who were forced into prostitution, and arrested 150 pimps and others in the three-day law enforcement sweep in 76 cities across the country. The Chicago-area effort also involved Aurora, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Alsip, Bedford Park, Lansing and Rockford.
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Chicago FBI officials said they worked with law enforcement agencies to rescue two children who were forced to engage in illicit sexual activities. The Chicago area sweep also resulted in the arrest of one person on pimping charges and 96 adults on solicitation charges, officials said.
Naperville, Elgin and Aurora police said they participated on July 25 in the Operation Cross Country campaign by helping the FBI conduct local raids. No children were found in those sweeps, authorities said.
During the Naperville operation, however, police and 11 agents from the FBI's Lisle and Chicago offices arrested four women who were charged with misdemeanor prostitution. Authorities also said marijuana and cash proceeds of the illegal activity were recovered.
The four woman charged with prostitution are Jessica R. White, 21, of the 700 block of Wright Court in Sandwich; Francheska P. Lozier, 25, of the 9000 block of Forum Park in Houston, Texas; Chelsey D. Newlon, 21, of the 1900 block of N. Campbell in Springfield, Mo.; and Ruthie Wells, 21, of the 1700 block of Fieldstone Drive in Shorewood.
Naperville Sgt. Louis Cammiso said the four women had arranged to meet with individuals who turned out to be undercover police officers. All the women were taken into custody separately throughout the day at different hotels around Naperville, he said.
Cammiso said all four women were released after posting bond.
Five other adult women were arrested Thursday under similar circumstances in Aurora and Elgin.
Aurora police say Shanice Gregory, 24, of the 300 block of Yates Street in Calumet City, and Anita Zelker, 42, of the 900 block of Rollins Road in Addison, both were charged with prostitution.
The three women charged with prostitution in Elgin are Dache L. Crayton, 21, of the 3600 block of Crenshaw in Chicago; Rose L. Hobbs, 20, of the 8700 block of Cottonville in Wautoma, Wis.; and Tameka J. Jones, 22, of the 7800 block of South Essex in Chicago.
Arlington Heights police said they worked with Elk Grove Village police to make two arrests in Arlington Heights and three arrests in Elk Grove Village. The names of the individuals who were charged and other details of that sweep weren't available Monday.
Operation Cross Country was started in 2003 by the FBI, Department of Justice and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities said. More than 230 separate agencies nationwide participated in the most recent sweep, which authorities said was the largest of its kind to date.
Authorities said they rescued the most children in San Francisco, Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans.
The campaign, officials said, is aimed at "disrupting the cycle of victimization of children involved in prostitution by getting them off the streets and at developing sufficient evidence to bring serious federal charges against the pimps who are profiting from the sale of children in this way."
The campaign has resulted in the rescue of more than 2,700 children since 2003, according to the FBI. There also have been 1,350 convictions, including 10 pimps who received life terms, officials said.
Daily Herald staff writers Marie Wilson and Melissa Silverberg contributed to this report.