ATLANTA — More than three dozen children are now safe after being rescued during a sex trafficking bust involving state and federal agents.
Channel 2′s Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas learned that the bust, dubbed “Operation Not Forgotten” spanned 20 counties around metro Atlanta.
For two weeks, U.S.Marshals Fugitive Hunters and other agencies scoured north and middle Georgia looking for missing and exploited children. In all, 26 endangered children were recovered and another 13 missing children were found.
U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington said that authorities fear the children were all already or potential victims of sex trafficking.
“These 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,” authorities said. “Other children were located at the request of law enforcement to ensure their wellbeing.”
The operation spanned across 20 Georgia counties. Sources said children were found in Gwinnett, Fulton, Clayton, and Forsyth counties among other places. Nine suspects were arrested.
The suspects are currently in a correctional facility as state investigators step in to deal with the cases and clinical and social laborers center around aiding damaged children.
“One missing kid is worth thousands, in my psyche, of outlaws that we go out and get,” Washington said.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said specialists will gauge their prosperity on “what number of carries on with that we have spared and that will have another and new beginning.”
Other significant urban areas the nation over have comparative tasks in progress. The vast majority of them presently can’t seem to be finished.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp gave an announcement about the bust through Twitter Thursday night.
.@GAFirstLady and I applaud the work of law enforcement in “Operation Not Forgotten.” We’ll continue to work around the clock to bring an end to human trafficking and ensure the perpetrators of this evil industry know they have no place in our state. https://t.co/z0pSopVRww
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) August 27, 2020