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Over 30 Missing Children Rescued in California During Joint-Agency Human Trafficking Investigation

01-24-2021
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More than 30 missing children were recovered in Southern California following a multi-agency human trafficking investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced on Friday that of the 33 children, at least eight had been sexually exploited.

Multiple law enforcement agencies and non-governmental branches participated in "Operation Lost Angels," which began on Jan. 11 as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

The bureau said it has seen a surge in both sex and labor trafficking-related crimes, with the agency reporting more than 1,800 investigations as of November 2020. 

"The FBI considers human trafficking modern-day slavery, and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims," said Assistant FBI Director 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."

Operation Lost Angels resulted in the arrest of one suspected human trafficker on state charges and the beginning of multiple other investigations, according to KTTV News in Los Angeles.

"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." 

In addition to recovering missing child victims, the FBI and its partners support victims by providing vital resources such as medical needs, legal services, housing, employment assistance, education, job training, and childcare.

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