FBI rescues over 200 missing, exploited children in major operation

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ATLANTA, Ga. (WFLA) – The FBI Atlanta Field Office says they have rescued over 200 missing and/or exploited children after a collaborative effort of law enforcement agencies.

From May 1 to May 24, 231 children were located as part of Operation Safe Summer II, according to an FBI statement

The operation was conducted by 27 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and was led by the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (MATCH) task force.

The operation’s goal was to combat all forms of child exploitation and make communities safer for children heading into the summer months.

“Thanks to the month-long efforts of our partners, 231 children are no longer vulnerable to predators who would seek to exploit them,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.

According to the National Center for Missing Exploited Children (NCMEC):

  • In 2018, more than 23,500 runaways were reported to NCMEC and one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
  • In 2016, 11% of endangered runaways were believed to be involved in gangs.
  • It is estimated as of March 2019, there were 419 missing/runaway children on the streets of the five-county Metro Atlanta region.

According to the FBI statement, the end of the operation coincided with National Missing Children’s Day which fell on May 25.

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