39 missing children have been found by the US Marshals during a two-week ‘Operation Not Forgotten’ in Georgia.
The mission was conducted in Macon and Atlanta and led to the rescue of 13 kids and 26 children.
Nine people were arrested and face charges including parental kidnapping, custodial interference, sex trafficking, and registered sex offender violence.
Director of the Marshals Service Donald Washington said in a press release: “The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr also praised the operation, saying: “I cannot say enough about Operation Not Forgotten and the men and women behind it.”
He added: “39 – That’s how many young lives are getting a new start, and that’s how we measure success.”
Officials said the 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.”
USMS investigators confirmed the location of every child and assure their welfare and safety.
The US Marshals shared videos and photos of the effort to find and save the missing children. One video shows an officer telling a rescued child: “We’re going to get you something to drink.”
Another photo shows three officers comforting a child they found and rescued.
In 2019, the USMS helped rescue 295 missing children.
Chief of the Missing Child Unit Darby Kirby said: “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 added: “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.”
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