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Arrests: The sting operations across 57 cities led to 104 arrests of alleged pimps
The FBI has rescued 79 teens held against their will and forced into prostitution from hotels, truck stops and stores during a three-day swoop on sex-trafficking rings across the country.

The sex slaves were aged between 13 and 17, although one said she had been involved in prostitution since she was just 11, authorities said.

During the sting operations across 57 U.S. cities - including Atlanta, Sacramento and Toledo, Ohio - 104 alleged pimps were arrested.

The teenagers, who are all U.S. citizens, were handcuffed and held in police custody until they could be placed with child welfare organisations.

Of those rescued in 'Operation Cross Country', 77 were girls and two were boys.

He said the pimps would target 'dysfunctional' families and then threaten them or their families.

'They basically go into survival mode,' Perkins told Fox News, explaining how the kids would do anything to eat.

Child prostitution is 'a problem that happens in all kinds of American cities and it happens to American kids,' Ernie Allen, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told Reuters.

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Child: The FBI believes children from 'dysfunctional' families are targeted through social media and often bribed
'People in this country believe it is only a problem that happens somewhere else,' he said.

He said that 100,000 children are victims of prostitution and trafficking each year but under-reporting means exact numbers are hard to determine.

The crackdown from Thursday to Saturday was part of a broader initiative launched in 2003 to combat child-sex trafficking.

There have been five other sweeps since 2008 and to date, about 2,200 children have been rescued in the program.

The FBI said its figures do not take into account children recovered by other state and local investigations.

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