During the past week, the FBI Atlanta Field Office, along with its Macon, Augusta, and Savannah Resident Agencies and their associated Child Exploitation Task Forces, conducted law-enforcement operations in support of Operation Cross Country VIII to address commercial child sex trafficking throughout the United States.
The operation included enforcement actions in and around Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, and Savannah and led to 11 recoveries of juveniles who were being victimized through prostitution or other computer-based exploitation.
Additionally, 71 individuals were arrested -- including four from Hinesville -- on various state charges to include pimping, criminal attempt child molestation/enticement of a minor, prostitution, and solicitation.
Antonio Bowman, age 29, of Hinesville, GA – Pimping
Lashaunda Collins, age 29, of Hinesville, GA – Prostitution
Robin Hudson, age 24, of Hinesville, GA – Prostitution
Ashley Cole, age 21, of Hinesville, GA – Prostitution
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.
To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,400 children from being exploited. The investigations and subsequent 1,450 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 14 life terms.
These FBI-led task force operations usually begin as local enforcement actions that target truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and websites that advertise dating or escort services, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions.
Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested frequently uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states.
FBI agents further develop this evidence in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section so that prosecutors can help bring federal charges in those cities where child prostitution occurs.
The FBI Atlanta Office thanks its law enforcement partners participating in Operation Cross Country VIII and their ongoing enforcement efforts regarding child exploitation matters. Those agencies include: Marietta PD, Department of Juvenile Justice, Cobb County PD, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Atlanta PD, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Gwinnett PD, Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office , Dekalb County PD, Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office, Hapeville PD, Clayton County PD, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, Clayton County Solicitor’s Office, Sandy Springs PD, Smyrna PD, Alpharetta PD, U.S. Attorney’s Office/Northern District of Georgia, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Pooler PD, Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Hinesville PD, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Pardons and Parole, and the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services.
The FBI would also like to acknowledge and thank those non-government organizations for their contributions and assistance: Georgia Cares, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Rainbow House.
The public should be reminded that the above are merely allegations and that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.