Officials in Texas announced on March 10 that several dozen missing minors had been found, retrieved, or rescued after a month-long operation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
At least seven desperately missing children with links to sex trafficking were found.
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During a sex sting, officers rescued a 15-year-old girl from a “john’s” house in Fort Worth and recovered a 15-year-old girl from an Uber in Houston.
The other 24 children were found and reunited with their legal guardians thanks to the help of friends and family.
The US Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations were in charge of the operation, which was aided by the police departments of Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Grand Prairie.
In a statement, Acting U.S. Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw said, “It’s satisfying to see law enforcement relationships and neighborhood issues culminate into such a good recovery result.” “Victims should know that they are not forgotten, that there is hope, and that there is a way back home.”
“We are honored to be a part of a group of exceptional law enforcement agencies committed to reuniting these children with their families.
“It is our hope that each of them will be able to move on from this traumatic experience and live a happy and healthy life,” said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
“These children and teenagers constitute some of our most disadvantaged communities, with adults attempting to exploit their youth. Arlington Police Chief Al Jones said, “We will not rest until every child is found safe and someone is held responsible.”
The operation was supported by analysts from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, as well as external funding from the charity 4theONE.
In 2020, the National Crime Information Center received over 346,000 reports of missing children. A similar number of people were removed from the system for various purposes, such as a law enforcement agency identifying a subject or a person returning home on their own.
According to federal authorities, children who go missing include those who were kidnapped by a parent or nonfamily attacker, those who ran away and those who got lost.
During an appearance on Fox Business on Oct. 1, 2020, US Marshals Service Director Donald Washington said that many lost children “are in particular danger as a result of either being victims of violent crime or because of who they are.”
“For example, some of them may be involved in gang affiliations, substance abusers, or bad circumstances involving people with violent tendencies and such.”