“Operation Lost Angels” Finds 33 Missing Children During Human Trafficking Operation

Lonestar Legal

A large scale human trafficking investigation in Southern California, which involved a number of different law enforcement agencies, managed to successfully recover 33 missing children during an operation just this month.

The FBI made an announcement around January 23 that while the operation is done, there are still 1,800 investigations involving missing and exploited children still ongoing. This particular operation, which began back on January 11th, was named “Operation Lost Angels” and was implemented as a part of the Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

So far, not too many details have been released about the cases, but the FBI did say that at least 8 of the 33 recovered children were being sexually exploited at the time of recovery. Two others were even recovered on the “track,” which is a term commonly used to identify a known location for ongoing commercial sex trafficking. Sadly, the agency also shared that in recent years, child trafficking cases have actually increased.

According to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, It is not uncommon for victims who are rescued to return to commercial sex trafficking either voluntarily or by force, fraud or coercion. This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation. Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they’re being trafficked.”

Meanwhile, FBI Director Kristi K. Johnson spoke with FOX 11 Los Angeles news and said, “The FBI considers human trafficking modern-day slavery, and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims. While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and out partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”

Some statements from investigators also shared that a number of the children actually required multiple interventions after returning to those that were exploiting them. Here, investigations on a number of the suspects were opened, while one suspected human trafficker has already been arrested and brought into custody. The agency also explained that not all of the 33 children were actually victims of sex trafficking as one in particular was kidnapped by their parent who was in the middle of a custody battle.

Notably, the FBI also announced that just last year, the agency managed to make 473 human trafficking arrests, as well as initiate 664 investigations all throughout the country. This “Lost Angels” operation is just one of a number of similar operations that have gone on throughout the entire country in very recent years.

In the past five years alone, US Marshal Service (USMS) has managed to recover the children involved in at least 75 percent of the cases that they take on. From those recovered, 72 percent of those children were recovered in just seven days from the beginning of the operation. Remarkably, since the year 2005, the USMS has managed to recover over 2,000 missing children.

Just last year, there was another large-scale law enforcement operation called “Operation Autumn Hope” in the state of Ohio. This resulted in the arrest of at least 179 people all under the suspicion of human trafficking, as well as the rescue of 109 victims, 45 of which were classified as missing children. Of the victims, a number of them were as young as 14 to 15 years old.

Meanwhile, in another operation named “Operation Stolen Innocence” that occurred back in November, law enforcement managed to arrest 170 people involved in the Tallahassee, Florida case.

Investigators and law agencies are encouraging victims, as well as individuals that are aware of victims, to speak out. Both witnesses and victims can send in any information they may have by calling the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.


What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

True Activist / Report a typo

Popular on True Activist