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Operation Not Forgotten.

Children go missing for different reasons; sometimes they are blindly kidnapped,

other times they are lured and tricked into meeting at a secluded location from where

they are kidnapped, and some do simply run away. Though the reason may vary behind

why a child ends up missing, the unfortunate truth is that sexual predators are a major

factor behind why children remain missing. In the United States, it is estimated that one

in five runaways will become victims of sex trafficking.

The U.S. Marshals’ Missing Child Unit understands that missing children are

almost always exploited children and that is why they partnered with the National Center

for Missing and Exploited Children to make “Operation Not Forgotten” the success that

it was. The mission that took place in August of 2020 took months of planning. That

planning resulted in the rescuing and locating of 39 children between two cities in

Georgia over a two week period. Nine criminal associates were arrested, from which 26

warrants were cleared. Some of the additional charges filed included alleged crimes

relating to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, and registered sex offender violations,

among many others.

Finding missing children is not only about returning them to loved ones or safety,

it is about saving them from modern-day slavery known as human sex trafficking. Darby

Kirby, chief of the Missing Child Unit had this to say, “When we track down fugitives, it’s

a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars. But that sense of

accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child.” He went on to say, “It’s

hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you

that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to

protect them and get them the help they need.”

If you or anyone has suspicions of sex trafficking or you yourself need help

escaping, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 it is

tollfree and someone is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24

hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

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