Law enforcement groups in Georgia are celebrating after successfully returning over 200 children back to safe hands during a coordinated effort in May.
Police from different agencies in the metropolitan Atlanta area reported that 231 children who were missing or exploited were “no longer vulnerable to predators” after the major effort.
“Operation Safe Summer II” brought 27 different LEO groups together to battle against the threat of human trafficking. The task force was led by 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 our community safer for our children heading into the summer months,” a press release noted.
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From the beginning of May until the 24th of the month, the numbers reported from the task force suggested that nearly 250 children had been rescued from the situation that they were in and are now in safe hands once again.
“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. “Operation Safe Summer is another example of the FBI’s commitment to protecting our children before they become victims.”
Last year, it was reported that over 23,500 children had run away from their homes. Police believe that as many as one in seven could be pulled into part of human sex trafficking rings. In 2006, more than 10 percent of runaways were believed to be involved in gangs.
The number of rescued children is outstanding, especially considering that in March of 2019, authorities believed that roughly 419 missing or runaway children were believed to be on the streets of Atlanta.
Operation Safe Summer is another example of the FBI’s commitment to protecting our children before they become victims.
National Missing Children’s Day was recognized on May 25th, just a day after these 231 children were reported safe.
Investigators noted that summer can be a prime time for predators to strike. Children are out of school while most of their parents are at work. They spend more time online and on their smartphones, which can often lead to susceptibility.
Among some of the agencies who worked on the force was the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and many local county and state officials.
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