Caloia’s office participates in child sex sting that busts 7
Authorities in Colorado and Wyoming said they rescued 20 teenage victims and arrested seven pimps as part of an annual crackdown on child sex trafficking.
FBI officials on Tuesday announced the results of the yearly operation, which targets the problem nationwide. Across the country, authorities rescued 149 young victims and arrested 153 pimps as part of Operation Cross Country.
Two investigators from 9th District Attorney Sherry Caloia’s office participated in the sting — Chief Investigator Lisa Miller and Investigator Lee Damuth.
Miller said by email Tuesday that she and Damuth were “literally on the streets” in Denver during the operation.
“We started Thursday and completed our involvement in the operation early Saturday morning,” she said. “This was the first trafficking operation of this type for Investigator Damuth and I.”
The two participated in both incall and outcall operations and followed up on tips to locate some of the children involved. They were involved in operations “that recovered multiple endangered children,” Miller said, and took part in interviewing children.
“During Investigator Damuth and I’s last assignment of this operation, we encountered a victim/prostitute and her pimp,” Miller said. “The victim/prostitute was offered services and we took her to a location where she began receiving immediate assistance for her substance abuse.”
“Perversion of this sort is absolutely not limited by geography,” she added. Colorado Deputy Attorney General Scott Turner, a former 9th Judicial District assistant DA “has a prosecutor working for him in his section that indicted a male in 2012 who was part of an organization who brought young girls to our valley. Turner is working with DA Caloia and has offered the services of his nationally known attorney who prosecutes human trafficking cases for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.”
Caloia said she hopes to have some of the experts involved in the recent sting come to Glenwood Springs to train how to identify child victims and how to conduct a similar investigation.
In Denver and Wyoming, the victims ranged in age from 13 to 17.
In one case, investigators found a 14-year-old Denver girl who was being trafficked by a gang member. Officials and victim advocates helped reconnect her with her family and get treatment.
“During interviews of the children and the victim/prostitutes, we heard way too many sad, dark stories,” Miller said. “We have to find a way to help out our young people better than what we are currently doing. Their backgrounds, during interviews I did or witnessed was very similar to the backgrounds of young people we have locally — young people who struggle with not feeling accepted or loved, who struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse issues and having home lives that don’t instill respect or discipline in themselves or others.”
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