U.S. Marshals Service has rescued dozens of endangered or missing children in Georgia in the past month, according to KTLA sister station WRBL.
“Operation Not Forgotten” was conducted over a two-week period in August in Atlanta and Macon, the Columbus, Georgia, television station reported.
According to officials, the operation resulted in the rescue of 26 children and the safe location of 13 children. Nine arrests were made.
Officials say 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.
“Operation Not Forgotten” involved the U.S. Marshal Service Missing Child Unit, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and several Georgia state and local agencies.
“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,” said Donald Washington, director of the Marshals Service. “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.”
Officials say the 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 conditions.
“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, the chief of the Missing Child Unit. “We are working to protect them and get them the help they need.”