Just a week after a Multnomah County Circuit Judge sentenced Sirgiorgio Clardy, a pimp, to 100 years in prison for compelling prostitution and related charges, law enforcement and social service providers have launched a two-day sting targeting those who profit from sex trafficking of children. This year, the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF), working with more than a dozen other local, state, and federal agencies in the Portland/Vancouver metro area, recovered two children who were being trafficked as part of the national Operation Cross Country VII event. Law enforcement and social service providers worked with each child--and when appropriate, the child's family--to provide counseling, mental health services, medical assistance, housing, and advocacy resources to them.
Authorities arrested four pimps and identified a suspected fifth pimp. They also picked up 13 adult women who will likely face local prostitution charges. All of the adult women were offered the opportunity to access help through victim services and the social service partners. In addition, authorities recovered one baby who was placed in state custody. Due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the victims involved, there will be no further details released about the child sex trafficking victims or the baby.
"Children - some barely into middle school - are finding themselves forced to sell their bodies on the streets, our streets, every day. They deserve a childhood free of the abuse and violence," said Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "The Child Exploitation Task Force has made great progress in recent years by targeting the pimps and putting them in prison for some very long prison sentences. We couldn't do this work without the fantastic partnerships that have developed between all of the law enforcement agencies and social service providers in this area. We thank them all for their continued service to these child victims."
"The commercial sexual exploitation of our children is an affront to our community, and it must be stopped. To this end, my office is working with federal, state, and local officials, along with community and service organizations to find ways to meet the needs of these children for housing, security, and treatment while we hold pimps and johns accountable," said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. "We have also expanded the resources and focus of our Anti-Gang prosecution unit to target the commercial sexual exploitation of children. With these combined efforts in place, we will be able to hold more traffickers accountable while helping more victims become survivors."
Beaverton Police arrested Sirgiorgio Clardy, the pimp recently sentenced to 100 years in prison, in June 2012 during the Operation Cross Country VI sting. Earlier this month, the court found that Clardy was a "dangerous offender" based on the seriousness of his crimes and other factors. A jury found him guilty of beating an 18-year-old woman and forcing her to work as a prostitute. He also was found guilty of beating a john so severely the man required surgery.
The FBI coordinates these Cross Country stings as part of its effort to combat child exploitation. Across the United States, Operation Cross Country VII stings recovered 105 children, and it included enforcement actions involving more than 3,900 local, state, and federal officers representing 230 separate agencies in 76 cities. Locally, the FBI would like to thank the following agencies and departments for taking part in the law enforcement portion of the sting:
* Beaverton Police Department
* Clark County Juvenile Detention
* Hillsboro Police Department
* Metro Gang Task Force
* Multnomah County District Attorney's Office
* Oregon Department of Justice
* Portland Police Bureau
* Port of Portland Police Department
* Tigard Police Department
* United States Attorney's Office
* U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
* Vancouver Police Department
Task force operations such as this one usually begin as local actions - targeting such places as truck stops, casinos, street "tracks," and Internet websites - based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions.
As is the case in the Portland/Vancouver area, initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws related to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. As the FBI is able to develop this information into a broader criminal investigation, it works with the U.S. Attorney's Office to file federal charges where appropriate at a later time.
The FBI would also like to thank all law enforcement and social service provider agencies for taking part in Operation Cross Country VII and for their ongoing work with the Child Exploitation Task Force. Those agencies include:
* Beaverton Police Dept - Victim Services
* Clackamas County - Department of Human Services/Child Protective Services
* LifeWorks NW - New Options for Women Program
* LifeWorks NW - Intensive Community Based Treatment Services
* Multnomah County - Department of Human Service/Child Protective Services
* Multnomah County - Department of Community Justice
* Multnomah County District Attorney's Office - Victim Services
* Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC)
* Washington County Department of Human Services/Child Protective Services
* Washington County District Attorney's Office - Victim Services
The charges filed in this operation are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
If you suspect that a child is being sexually exploited, please call your nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency immediately.
For more information on Operation Cross Country VII, including a video, podcasts and the law enforcement/social service provider partnerships providing assistance to these victims, please visit www.fbi.gov/portland.