At least 70 missing children have been recovered over a period of three weeks during "Operation Lost Souls," WLBT-TV has reported.
What are the details?
Homeland Security Investigations El Paso has reported that most of the missing children were found in western Texas and Mexico, in places such as Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Odessa, and Ciudad Juarez.
According to the station, many recovered children were between the ages of 10 and 17 years old, and some were victims of sex trafficking and abuse.
In a statement on the grand finding, Homeland Security Investigations El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho said, "Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are looking out for our children — our community’s most precious resource. HSI is committed to continue working with our law enforcement partners to locate, recover and help missing children heal while ensuring that perpetrators are held responsible for these heinous crimes and brought to justice."
Department of Public Safety Major Matthew Mull told KABC-TV, "At the Department of Public Safety, teamwork is one of our core values. We are grateful for all of our law enforcement partners who participated in this operation and who work around the clock every day to protect our communities, including our youth."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement noted that a press conference announcing the rescued children took place on May 25 and coincided with National Missing Children’s Day, adding that some of the agencies involved in the operation included HSI Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Attache Office, West Texas Anti-Gang Center, Texas Highway Patrol, El Paso Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and more.
Anyone who possesses information on instances of human trafficking is encouraged to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.