Labor and sex traffickers practice modern slavery in Colorado

DENVER - The FBI's Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force rescued 59 teen prostitutes from flesh peddlers in the state this year, up from 49 in 2012.

In July, Operation Cross Country, a nationwide sweep that targeted victims of underage prostitution and their pimps, recovered 105 juveniles and bagged 150 pimps in 76 cities.

Denver ranked fourth in the number of teens rescued, with nine juveniles, fewer than only San Francisco, Milwaukee and Detroit.

These are chilling statistics that indicate modern-day slavers continue to ply their trade in Colorado.

"It's not that this is a brand-new problem," FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. "However, because we are focusing resources, we are addressing the problem directly and are finding more of it."

The market for forced labor isn't confined to the sex trade, and the Internet has made it easier to ensnare unwary workers anywhere in the world. Trafficked workers, many of them immigrants with little command of English, can be found laboring even in health care and other legitimate jobs.

Read more about how runaways get snared on the Denver Post: