Working with state and local authorities, U.S. Marshals rescued 25 missing and endangered children from Ohio in what remains an ongoing effort called Operation Safety Net.
The missing children ranged in age between 13 and 18 and were found across the state of Ohio and as distant as Miami, Florida.
“These are kids that have been abused, neglected. Some involved in human trafficking,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot told WOIO-TV. “Sometimes the situations they – they go to, believe it or not, may be better than the situations they left from. We’ve had some cases where the mother and or father, or both, may have been prostituting their own child.”
According to the officers involved, Operation Safety Net will continue for a few more weeks in an effort to locate the roughly 200 missing children from Northeast Ohio alone.
The recent success comes after Operation Not Forgotten rescued 26 missing children and located an additional 13 in Georgia and Florida. Of those 39 victims, authorities report that 15 of them were being trafficked.
A third effort, called Operation Moving Target, led to the arrest of 27 Ohio men in Cuyahoga County for engaging in sexually explicit conversations with undercover agents posing as kids.
The U.S. Marshals have provided a tip line for anyone who might have information about any missing children: 1-866-492-6833