Brianne Marcelin (L), Kourtes Laster-Johnson (C), Lovell Barnett (R)
ATLANTA -- The NCAA Final Four Tournament gave some of Atlanta's most heinous criminals a chance to ply their trade, according to law enforcement officials. But those law enforcement officials were ready.
The FBI said child prostitution and human trafficking increase during events like the Final Four and other events it brought to Atlanta. That's why the FBI's Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force (MATCH) and Atlanta Police conducted "Operation Intentional Foul" over the weekend.
"Atlanta's known for its conventions, for its various events and this was a large event that we chose to hold a proactive law enforcement effort," said FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett.
As a result, seven juvenile females were rescued. Three people were arrested and charged with pimping those girls. Brianne Marcelin, 23, of Atlanta, Kourtes Laster Johnson, 18, of Atlanta, and Lovell Barnett, 18, of Atlanta were arrested on state charges of Sexual Exploitation for Pimping.
A fourth suspect, Bryant Bailey, 29, of Atlanta was charged with Human Trafficking.
The FBI's efforts coincided with an independent shock campaign by a faith-based non-profit to end human trafficking called the "End It Movement." They drove a human mobile billboard around Atlanta during the final four to promote "Shine a Light on Slavery Day" which is trending highly on social networking sites.
"This is one of the top cities in the United States where underage girls and boys are bought and sold against their will," said Bryson Vogeltanz, a spokesperson for the End It Movement. "It's crazy and this is happening right here in Atlanta and it's happening all over the world."
There is no connection between the group's efforts and the efforts of law enforcement other than the fact that both chose Final Four Weekend, an event where this type of activity spikes.
You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson