by: Blair Miller Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nearly 300 people are behind bars after a major FBI operation.
They're accused of selling children as sex slaves, and agents say three of them were busted in the Charlotte area.
The FBI kicked off this nationwide operation last week, and agents didn't just arrest pimps, they also rescued dozens of children.
Authorities arrested 281 pimps and rescued 168 children in the United States during Operation Cross Country VIII.
Three of those pimps were arrested in the Charlotte area, but no children were recovered here.
The FBI said the operation usually starts when local law enforcement officers target truck stops, casinos, and websites known to sell children.
They make arrests and get more information from those arrested about the inner workings of the sex trade.
That intelligence led to 281 arrests.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice said the pimps "created a living nightmare" for the children.
Authorities are happy to have those kids in a safe place now.