The extensive, three-day sweep took place in 76 US cities in conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), it said in a statement.
Most of the freed youths are young teenagers aged 13 to 16, said Ronald Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "Our goal is that child trafficking is openly discussed," he told reporters.
"We are trying to take this crime out of the shadows and put a spotlight on it... to put them (the children) out of the cycle." NCMEC CEO John Ryan said the sting, dubbed Operation Cross Country, "demonstrates just how many of America's children are being sold for sex every day, many on the Internet."