The FBI worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to identify, locate, and recover missing children, particularly those who have been or were suspected of being sexually exploited.
In case you aren't aware, like me, January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated the month to raising awareness about the different forms of human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, and educating people about this crime and how to spot it. By some estimates, as many as 24.9 million people — adults and children — are trapped in a form of human trafficking around the world, including in the United States.
It was revealed on Friday, January 22, in a press release that this year, the FBI worked with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and more than two dozen law enforcement and non-governmental partners to identify, locate, and recover missing children, particularly those who have been or were suspected of being sexually exploited and/or trafficked.
LASD Special Victims-Human Trafficking Bureau was involved in a multi-agency effort that helped rescue 33 missing children, 8 of which were being sexually exploited, in Operation “Lost Angels”.— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) January 24, 2021
Visit: https://t.co/Smr0mlpx2u to read more about this. #LASD @FBILosAngeles @LAPDHQ pic.twitter.com/m0NZmKeGAV
The initiative, called ”Operation Lost Angels,” started on January 11th and recently led to the recovery of 33 children.
Of the underage victims recovered, eight were being sexually exploited at the time of recovery. Two were recovered multiple times during the operation while on the ‘track,’ a common term used to describe a known location for commercial sex trafficking. It is not uncommon for victims who are rescued to return to commercial sex trafficking either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion,” said the office said during its press release.
“The FBI considers human trafficking modern-day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” said Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson. “While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”
“Collaboration with our law enforcement partners is key to ending the vicious cycle of modern-day slavery. I’m committed to doing everything we can to stop human trafficking,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Following a multi-day operation known as #LostAngels, the FBI in partnership with @LAPDHQ & @LASDHQ surged resources & worked with more than 2 dozen partners to rescue 33 minors-many of whom were being trafficked on the streets of LA. Details to follow. #HumanTraffickingAwareness pic.twitter.com/OQyHvr4Pth— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) January 22, 2021
“Human trafficking is a pervasive and insidious crime that threatens the safety of our young people, who are the future of our communities,” said Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. “We can only begin to take back the future of our youth with the strong partnerships forged between outstanding service providers and law enforcement.”
Anyone who believes they may be victims of human trafficking may call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC) at 888-373-7888 or visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ The NHTRC is a national, confidential, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls at all times.
Those who wish to report incidents of suspected human trafficking may call their local FBI office or local police department. For more information about the FBI’s Human Trafficking investigations, please visit: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/human-trafficking
Last October, the U.S. Marshals rescued 39 missing children in Virginia as part of nationwide operations to save exploited children. The Department of Justice announced at the time that the five-day law enforcement effort, called “Operation Find Our Children,” took place throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.