39 children in Georgia have been rescued during a major child sex trafficking bust, with multiple arrests made by police in a series of historic raids.
The young children are now safe again, with nine criminals behind bars after an anti-sex trafficking operation by federal and state officials.
In a Thursday press conference, the U.S. Marshals Service announced the results of “Operation Not Forgotten.”
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The operation was conducted in August in Atlanta and Macon and successfully rescued 39 missing children across the state.
The raids also led to the arrest of nine “criminal associates.”
As a result of the operation, the suspects face hefty prison sentences for crimes including sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, custodial interference, and registered sex offender violence.
“The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you,” Director of the Marshals Service Donald Washington said in a statement.
“They are America’s children, and they are kids that we need to go and find. Right here in Atlanta, approximately 300 young girls are lured into sex trafficking every month,” Washington added.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr praised the rescue effort saying: “I cannot say enough about Operation Not Forgotten and the men and women behind it.
“39 – That’s how many young lives are getting a new start, and that’s how we measure success.”
Officials said 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.”
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