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U.S. Marshals rescue 39 kids, 15 from sex traffickers

The U.S. Marshals Service released information late Thursday announcing the recovery of 39 missing kids, some of whom were rescued from sex traffickers during Operation Not Forgotten in the state of Georgia.

“Operation Not Forgotten” resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children and the arrest of nine criminal associates. Additionally, investigators cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference. The 26 warrants cleared included 19 arrest warrants for a total of nine individuals arrested, some of whom had multiple warrants.

“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,” said Darby Kirby, chief of the Missing Child Unit. “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.”

The U.S. Marshal’s Office is taking on child traffickers around the country. Historically, the U.S. marshals are famous for the manhunt. This kind of work is right up their alley and it was surprising to learn they had not been utilized to find missing children up until now.

This relatively new mission for the U.S. Marshals has seen two large scale operations recently and several smaller ones around the country. The future should see many similar operations throughout the United States as the Missing Child Unit ramps up operations using the man hunting skills, in which the Marshals specialize, to locate and rescue missing minors.

“We’re really good at what we do. You know, they’ve called us manhunters. Well, we’re not just man hunters anymore,” said Chief Inspector Darby Kirby, according to Fox. “We also help save and rescue children as well.”

If the photos released by the USMS are any indication, the marshals are enjoying their new mission. In the photo below there is a logo on the screen with a warrior on a horse with the promise “Missing children, we will find you” written on it.  (Photos by: Shane T. McCoy / U.S. Marshals)

Many of the children have been taken to recovery centers for victims of sex trafficking trauma.

Fox reported that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation also took part in the rescue. “We will never stop looking for you. That’s [the] message,” said U.S. Marshalls Director Donald Washington. “There is no more meaningful work that law enforcement does than rescuing children. Our children are not for sale and they are not ever forgotten.”

The marshals also arrested 9 people in relation to the crimes against children including sex trafficking and weapons charges. The USMS held a press conference and revealed that every month 300 girls are lured into sex trafficking in Atlanta. USMS is responsible for bringing 100,000 fugitives every year but officials say that this operation, rescuing children, is far more important and will be a priority going forward. “One missing child is worth thousands of fugitives in my mind,” said Washington. “We are also conducting these missions in other cities around the country.” Washington named Cleveland and New Orleans as being among the cities where current operations are underway.

President Trump on Thursday night spoke about the administration’s focus on breaking up sex-trafficking rings. The effort has resulted in hundreds of children being rescued over the last two years.

–Wire services including PJMEDIA