Thirty-three missing children have been rescued in Southern California, many of whom were sexually exploited, as part of a multiagency, anti-human trafficking operation led by the FBI.
Authorities announced that Operation Lost Angels recovered and rescued 33 “vulnerable missing children,” eight of which are said to have actively been sexually exploited or trafficked when saved by law enforcement, according to the feds, the Blaze reported.
Operation Lost Angels involved a multiagency task force which included over two dozen law enforcement departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the United States Marshal’s Service.
“The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” said FBI assistant director Kristi Johnson. “While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Authorities want the public to know that victims may not even realize they are being trafficked.
“This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation,” an FBI news release stated. “Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they’re being trafficked.”
In 2020, the FBI alone conducted 644 human trafficking investigations across the United States, which resulted in 473 arrests on human trafficking charges.
According to the FBI, as of November 2020, the bureau had more than 1,800 open trafficking investigations and leads 86 Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces across the country, the Daily Wire reported.
The US Marshals Service led many high-profile multiagency task force operations last year which led to hundreds of arrests.
November: “Operation Find Our Children.” 27 missing children rescued in Virginia.
November: “Operation Stolen Innocence.” 178 arrests in Florida.
October: “Operation Autumn Hope.” 45 missing and endangered children rescued in Ohio and West Virginia. 179 arrests made.
October 1: 11 children and “extreme danger” rescued in New Orleans.
September 21: “Operation Safety Net.” 35 children rescued in Ohio.
September 17: “Operation Triple Beam.” 5 missing children located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
September 4: “Operation Homecoming.” 8 “highly endangered” children rescued in Indiana.
August 27: “Operation Not Forgotten.” 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida rescued 15 were victims of sex trafficking.