(ABC) The FBI has come to the rescue of more than 100 children forced into the sex trade.
Working with state and local authorities, the bureau arrested 150 people accused of trafficking in child prostitution.
It was a massive three-day FBI sweep.
Federal authorities said Monday that over the weekend, they rescued 105 children - some as young as 13 - from forced prostitution right here in the
"[This was] one of the most prevalent, violent and unconscionable crimes in this country," said Ron Hosko, FBI Criminal Investigative Division.
The weekend campaign was dubbed "Operation Cross Country."
The FBI worked with 230 federal, state and local enforcement agencies to arrest 150 pimps in 76 American cities.
The largest numbers of children were rescued in Detroit, Milwaukee, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco. Just in the San Francisco Bay area, 17 alleged pimps were arrested.
"Traffickers prey on youth with low self esteem and minimal social support," said Drew Oosterban, Justice Department.
Federal officials said many of the children were sold into prostitution online, at truck stops or on city streets. They are often homeless or in foster care.
"With no way to survive on their own, they are lured into a life of being trafficked for sex. When these children are recovered, typically their only possessions are the clothes that they are wearing," said John Ryan, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The FBI said coordinated law enforcement efforts against child trafficking have resulted in the rescues of 27-hundred children over the last decade.
"It would be easy enough to look through the eyes of the children, who are saying, 'who cares about me?' Well, we are standing in front of you today saying that we do," added Hosko.
Those arrested over the weekend are facing a range of federal and state charges, including offenses related to human trafficking, coercion, and commercial sex.