OKLAHOMA - A tip about a big FBI sting led to an Oklahoma City officer’s arrest.
Now, we’re learning more about that sting.
Operation Cross Country is an effort by the FBI and local law enforcement officials to recover child victims of sex trafficking.
This year, only one child was recovered, but agents arrested a slew of adult prostitutes and pimps.
It’s the sting that Lt. Alex Edwards got tied up in.
He allegedly tipped off 21-year-old Kiani Mongi about the sweep in Oklahoma City.
She got arrested by an undercover agent anyway, along with more than a dozen other adult prostitutes.
“The adult prostitutes are not the focus of this surge but, however, functionally, adult prostitutes often know who is trafficking children,” said FBI Special Agent Kathryn Peterson.
The FBI has been leading this nationwide sting for the past 10 years, hoping to lock up more sex traffickers.
They said Oklahoma is still a hub for child sex trafficking, because of all the interstates and truck stops we have in our state.
This year, they recovered one child victim, 8 pimps and 17 prostitutes in Oklahoma City.
“The fact that we have located only one child victim here out of the number of prostitutes we arrested is potentially a sign that we're having an impact on sex trafficking in this territory,” Peterson said.
Some defense attorneys said, while the intentions of law enforcement are good, it’s not breaking the cycle of prostitution in Oklahoma, mostly because the prostitutes get charged with felonies.
Those running the show are getting what some call a slap on the wrist.
“It’s the cost of doing business for these pimps. The people behind it, if they get arrested, they’re facing a misdemeanor aiding and abetting. Most of the time they're facing zero jail time, very minimal fines,” said defense attorney Lance Phillips.
Edwards is free on bail.
Mongi is still in the county jail facing felony charges.