U.S Marshals rescue 39 child victims of human trafficking, kidnapping in Georgia
U.S. Marshals in Atlanta Georgia today announced that they recovered 39 children, victims of human trafficking and kidnapping, in an operation that lasted two weeks.
“I have children. I’m sure many of you do as well. These are not my kids and these are not your kids, but actually they are our kids when it’s all said and done,” said Donald Washington, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, according to New York’s local Fox News 5.
The operation also resulted in the arrest of nine criminal defendants.
“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 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants,” said a statement by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The Marshals Service (USMS) was acting in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with Georgia state and local authorities, to rescue the children in these hard-to-solve cases.
“These missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health condition,” the U.S. Marshal’s Office of Public Affairs said.
Often the children do not want to cooperate with the rescue operation having been psychological exploited for years.
The USMS says that in 2019 they helped recover 295 missing children, based on requests they get from local law enforcement.
“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,” said Darby Kirby, Chief of the Missing Child Unit. “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.”
At the press conference announcing the results of the investigation, Washington said that there was one simple message for perpetrators of these crimes to take away:
“We will never stop looking for you. That’s [the] message. There is no more meaningful work that law enforcement does than rescuing children. Our children are not for sale and they are not ever forgotten.”
PHOTO: SHANE T. MCCOY/U.S. MARSHALS
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