39 missing children found: Suspects nabbed for human, sex trafficking

Sunday, August 30, 2020
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

handcuffs in court (juvenile)The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit rescued 39 missing children ages three to 17 while arresting numerous suspects in its two-week “Operation Not Forgotten” conducted in Florida and Georgia.

The federal agency worked with its Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to rescue 26 missing youth while safely locating 13 others, with 15 of them being identified as sex trafficking victims.

"I have children, [and] I'm sure many of you do as well,” U.S. Marshals Service Donald Washington said, according to Fox’s WAGA TV. “These are not my kids and these are not your kids, but actually they are our kids when it's all said and done."

We’re coming for you!

Washington had one blunt message for any sex traffickers remaining at large across America.

“The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you,” the leading federal agent warned in a U.S. Marshals press release Thursday.

The major operation is bringing to justice dozens of suspects accused of abusing and exploiting innocent children in the United States.

"Additionally, investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference," the press release added. "The 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested – some of whom had multiple warrants."

WTSP-TV listed off the nine suspects apprehended in Florida and Georgia – with many being nabbed in motel rooms who already had major felony backgrounds, including prior convictions ranging from child molestation, to sodomy, to incest.

Mission accomplished … for now …

An overwhelming sense of satisfaction and justice served was communicated by the chief of the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit, Darby Kirby.

“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we're putting the bad guy behind bars, but that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child," Kirby proclaimed in the Marshals’ release. “It's hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to protect them and get them the help they need.”

With the FBI’s National Crime Information Center reporting that more than 421,000 children were missing across America in 2019 – with 91% identified as runaways in danger – Kirby says each one of the nearly half-million American youth needs to be saved.

"We're really good and what we do … You know, they've called us manhunters – well, we're not just man hunters anymore … We also help save and rescue children, as well," Kirby said, according the TheBlaze. "There are times when we rescue children that don't want to be rescued, but when you understand the background and where they've come from – growing up in broken homes – you really understand that it's heroic work."

A large percentage of the investigations taken up by the Marshals Service end up saving hundreds of children from lives of abuse.

“In 2019, the USMS helped recover 295 missing children based on requests for assistance from law enforcement and has contributed to the recovery of a missing child in 75% of cases received,” the agency’s press release stated. “Additionally, of the missing children recovered, 66% were recovered within seven days of the USMS assisting with the case. Since its partnership with NCMEC began in 2005, the agency has recovered more than 1,800 missing children.”

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