Twitter | @FBIAtlanta

US Marshals Find 39 Missing Children In Georgia During 2-Week Operation

The US Marshal Service has successfully found nearly 40 missing children in Georgia as part of a two-week mission known as "Operation Not Forgotten".

According to a recent press release from the law enforcement agency, 39 kids in total were recovered during the mission, many of whom were at risk for child sex trafficking, abuse and exploitation.

The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit led the search, in collaboration with the agency's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as state and local agencies.

The operation resulted in the rescue of 26 children and the safe location of 13 more in 20 counties around metro Atlanta area. The minors ranged in age from 3 to 17.

During the mission, authorities also arrested nine people for alleged charges of sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations or other related crimes.

Darby Kirby, Chief of the Missing Child Unit, said the experiencing of locating missing children is indescribable.

Shane T. McCoy / U.S. Marshals

“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," he explained in the 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.”

During a press conference last week, Donald Washington, director of the United States Marshals Service, revealed a similar operation has taken place in Cleveland.

15 children have been found so far as part of that mission, and two individuals have been arrested. Another effort to recover children, dubbed "Operation Summer Rescue", just began in New Orleans.

“There is no more meaningful work that law enforcement does than rescuing children," Washington said. "Our children are not for sale and they are not ever forgotten.”

The FBI estimates a child goes missing every 40 seconds in the country, amounting to 765,000 children a year.

Since US Marshals partnered with NCMEC in 2005, the agency has been able to recover more than 1,800 missing children.

"The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission,” Washington said in the release. “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.”

h/t: US Marshals

Filed Under: