Twenty-four missing and/or runaway children from El Paso County, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico were recovered.
The multi-agency week-long operation dubbed “Operation Lost Souls” was led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
One case of sexual assault and another one of human trafficking are being investigated.
Operation Lost Souls started in mid-May and it’s the first time more than 15 agencies and NGOs have worked together to find missing minors.
“Runaway children are at high risk of becoming trafficking victims and falling prey to individuals who want to hurt them and jeopardize their health and safety,” stated Erik Breitzke, special agent in charge for HSI El Paso.
“I commend the law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations that participated in this operation that very well may have helped save lives. We will continue to collaborate and work tirelessly to identify and recover missing children,” he added.
Of the 24 recovered children, four were located outside of the United States, one in Puerto Rico and three in Mexico.
In addition, two of them were found out of state: one in California and another one in Oklahoma.
Victims of human trafficking or people with information about it should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 any time of the day.
Anonymous tips may be reported at www.Stopwesttexasgangs.org