Thirty-nine children will soon be reunited with their families after the U.S. Marshals rescued them during a two-week mission called “Operation Not Forgotten.” According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, the operation took place in Atlanta and Macon, Georgia.
Specifically, “‘Operation Not Forgotten’ resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children, and the arrest of nine criminal associates.” On top of the arrest warrants that were used to detain the nine criminal associates, “investigators also filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference.”
U.S. Marshals Service Recovers 39 Missing Children in Sting
The children who were found “were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases” within the state of Georgia. In a statement shared within the press release, Donald Washington, the Director of the Marshals Service, wants those children who are still missing to know that they will never stop looking for them.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission. The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you.”
As the release continued, the mission to rescue these children were considered the most challenging “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.” In 2019, the United States Marshal Service, under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, helped rescue 295 missing children.
And since the USMS began its partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2005, they have aided in the recovery of over 1,800 missing kids. “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,” Darby Kirby, Chief of the Missing Child Unit for the USMS said.
“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,” Kirby continued.