8 Bay area kids rescued in nationwide sex trafficking op - FOX 13 News

8 Bay area kids rescued in nationwide sex trafficking op

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Sarasota suspects arrested in sex trafficking sting Sarasota suspects arrested in sex trafficking sting
SARASOTA (FOX 13) -

Sarasota Police took part in the FBI's "Operation Cross Country", which targeted human sex trafficking nationwide.

During the FBI's week-long sting in 106 cities, local and state agencies from across the country assisted the feds in arresting 281 pimps, and recovering 168 juveniles that were victimized through prostitution.

Eight of those minors were rescued from the Tampa Bay area.

Thursday, Sarasota Police arrested Jessel Rajesh Patel, 25, for lining up sex with a minor online, then going to meet that minor.

Two others, Whisper Morton, 30, and Jessica Fisher, 29, were charged with prostitution. Fisher's charge was a misdemeanor.

No juveniles were involved in Sarasota's investigation, but investigators explained they see it often.

"Many of these women, in general, that we arrest for prostitution started out in the trade as juveniles and have been trapped in that lifestyle," Sgt. Demetri Konstantopoulos said.

This was the eighth time officials carried out Operation Cross Country.

Since its inception in 2003, 3,600 children have been taken out of the sex trade, 1,450 people have been convicted, and $3.1 million seized.

Click here to see arrests and juveniles recovered by city.

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