After a national operation in which 168 children were rescued from sex slavery right here in First-World America, the BBC reports that pimps take advantage of a system meant to care for children without families of their own.

“We cannot find them if no one reports them missing,” John Ryan told the Beeb. He’s chief executive of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In a separate report, Ryan said only two states require children missing from state agencies to be reported.

Operation Cross Country, which also saw the arrest of 281 accused pimps, has become an annual affair. “This is the eighth such week-long operation, which this year unfolded in 106 cities. The FBI says nearly 3,600 children have so far been recovered from the street,” The Christian Science Monitor reports.

“These are not faraway kids in faraway lands,” said FBI Director James Comey, reminding us that this sort of crime, which is often cast in media reports and the popular imagination as a problem of the developing world, is in fact universal.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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