Operation Safe Summer II Locates More Than 200 Missing/Exploited Children
The FBI Atlanta Field Office recently announced that a collaborative operation yielded the location of 231 missing and/or exploited children.
Operation Safe Summer (OSS), led by the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (MATCH) task force, partnered 27 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
The federal agency reports that from May 1, 2019 to May 24, 2019, 231 missing and/or exploited children were located. The operation’s goal was to “combat all forms of child exploitation and make the community safer for our children heading into the summer months.” The end of OSS coincided with National Missing Children’s Day, May 25.
According to a press release, OSS was conducted near the start of the summer season to raise awareness and send an important message at a time the community’s children are most vulnerable to becoming targets for exploitation.
The summer is not only the hottest month temperature-wise, but with children out of school, spending more time on line and on their smart phones, summer is also a hot time for sexual predators.
With an emphasis on prevention, OSS concentrated much of its efforts on locating and identifying those vulnerable children before they were targeted by sexual predators.
“Thanks to the month-long efforts of our partners, 231 children are no longer vulnerable to predators who would seek to exploit them,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a press release. “Operation Safe Summer is another example of the FBI’s commitment to protecting our children before they become victims.”
The National Center for Missing Exploited Children (NCMEC) reports that:
- In 2018, more than 23,500 runaways were reported to NCMEC and one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
- In 2016, 11% of endangered runaways were believed to be involved in gangs.
- It is estimated as of March 2019, there were 419 missing/runaway children on the streets of the five-county Metro Atlanta region.
Among the partners with the FBI:
Federal: FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service
State: Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice
County: Cobb County PD, Cobb County Schools PD, DeKalb County PD, DeKalb County Schools PD, Fulton County PD, Fulton County Schools PD, Gwinnett County PD, Gwinnett County Schools PD
Municipalities: Marietta PD, Smyrna PD, Brookhaven PD, Dunwoody PD, Doraville PD, Atlanta PD, College Park PD, East Point PD, Roswell PD, Alpharetta PD, Forest Park PD
The following non-governmental organizations who provide care to vulnerable populations: National Center for Missing Exploited Children, Georgia Cares, Out of Darkness, 4Sarah, Wellspring Living for Girls, Street Grace