NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced this week.
Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI's Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies in six metro counties, assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Alcoke told WSB-TV's Mike Petchenik.
"They are crimes of special concern to the FBI and to law enforcement generally," Alcoke said. "Because the victims are so vulnerable as children and because the offenders could be from just about any walk of life, from a gang member all the way up to someone who is highly successful and wealthy."
The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences, officials said.
Alcoke said the operation was scheduled before the summer months as a way to put a dent in a trade that preys on children at a time when they have more freedom.
“It’s important for those of us who are responsible for the children, the parents, the guardians, the older siblings, to not let children fall away (from) those strongly centered circles of importance,” Alcoke said.
Among those charged, Alcoke said Trevey Parks was a convicted sex offender out of prison who forced a juvenile to work in the sex trade for him.
“Trevey Parks is one of the worst of the worst,” Alcoke said. “He enticed a child to travel for sex with him. He was ultimately arrested in a joint effort by us and the local police."
In Alpharetta, Georgia, police told Petchenik they arrested several suspected pimps and prostitutes and rescued one teenager who'd been forced into sexual servitude.
MORE ON WSBTV.com:
>> Feds shut down controversial classified ad website on prostitution, sex trafficking charges
>> 'See something. Say something': Atlanta mayor rolls out plan to combat human trafficking
>> 3-month-old girl among 84 rescued in sex trafficking sting
"A lot of people don't realize these things happen here," department spokesman Howard Miller told Petchenik.
Miller said detectives scoured the internet for evidence of prostitution and then moved in to make arrests, but he said it’s been getting more difficult.
"Backpage has been taken down. A lot these pages will pop up and be available for a few days. They'll have the types of information and the people available on it, our agents will take a look at that and start their investigation and before they know it, the page is down," Miller said.
Cox Media Group