The U.S. Marshals Service has recovered 45 children as a part of an operation called “Autumn Hope.”
According to Columbus Ohio affiliate WBNS, the multi-agency enforcement operation ended with 169 arrests made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. The task was pulled off as a collaborative effort between USMS officers in Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia, Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. The children recovered were reportedly missing for a variety of reasons including homelessness, domestic abuse, runaways or trafficking.
The operation also led to the discovery of a loaded gun when police found a 15-year-old who was suspected in a number of shootings and a homicide, CBS News’ Caitlin O’Kane writes via WBNS. Another child, 15, was connected to a person who authorities believe is participating in human trafficking in Columbus, the outlet reports. During a traffic stop, Marshals in West Virginia and USMS Southern Ohio task force recovered two children, and a 14-year-old girl who was reported missing was recovered in the middle of the night within six hours of being reported missing.
Last month, USMS announced that 25 missing and endangered children between the ages of 13 and 18 were recovered in a 20-day mission called “Operation Safety Net” that took place in Ohio. Less than a week later, USMS reports that eight children were rescued in the Indianapolis areas in just five days and that one person was arrested on charges including parental kidnapping.
The latest operation was “Operation Not Forgotten,” a task took two weeks and saved 39 missing children in Georgia, and 13 others were safely located.