Scores of children have been rescued in a raid on a sex trafficking ring in Colombia, including an 11-year-old girl allegedly sold for $1,000.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday that they found 55 minors and arrested 12 people Saturday in a joint undercover operation with Colombian police in three cities: Armenia, Cartagena, and Medellin.
Eleven Colombian men and women are accused of trafficking minors, pimping, and pandering. The nationality of the remaining suspect has not been released.
Colombian media said that among those arrested is a beauty pageant star who worked with a modeling agency, allegedly recruiting victims through casting calls and parties.
If convicted, the Colombian defendants face up to 20 years in prison.
The raids followed the arrest of a man in the United States who allegedly traveled to Medellin to have sex with minors.
Colombia’s child protective service is caring for the victims, some of whom were allegedly drugged with cocaine and ecstasy, a drug that lowers sexual inhibitions.