US Marshals locate 225 missing children, including sex trafficking victims, across the nation in ‘Operation We Will Find You’

The U.S. Marshals Service located 225 missing children across the nation and beyond during a 10-week operation.

The mission dubbed “Operation We Will Find You,” resulted in the U.S. Marshals recovering 169 children and safely located another 59. There were 28 cases referred to “law enforcement agencies for further investigation of crimes such as drugs and weapons, sex trafficking, and sex offender violations.”

The youngest child recovered was only 6 months old.

Three missing children were said to be victims of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions.

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The endangered child operation concentrated on areas with high numbers of “critically” missing children. The operation focused on the following locations: eastern Virginia; Washington D.C.; Maryland; Massachusetts; South Carolina; New Orleans; San Antonio; Detroit; Yakima, Washington; Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles; northern Ohio; Guam; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There were 10 endangered children who were tracked down in Mexico.

“Law enforcement reported allegations of trafficking in over 40 cases the U.S. Marshals Service assisted with,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement. “Of the cases closed, 86% were endangered runaways, nearly 9% were family abductions, and 5% were considered otherwise missing.”

In cases of the missing children who were recovered, 62% were recovered within seven days after the U.S. Marshals Service got involved.

“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to the important mission of protecting the American people, especially our most vulnerable population – our children,” said Ronald Davis, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. “The results of this operation underscore that commitment, but also highlight the necessity of these critical efforts. Our continued success can only be achieved through our collaboration with state and local law enforcement agencies, and partnership with NCMEC. Together, the USMS and NCMEC have recovered over 3,100 missing children since the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in 2015.”

The U.S. Marshals Service received support from state and local agencies, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Operation We Will Find You is a great example of how the U.S. Marshals Service continues to prioritize child protection,” NCMEC President & CEO Michelle DeLaune. “NCMEC is proud of our long-standing partnership with the USMS and commends them and the participating state and local agencies who helped recover the 225 endangered missing children.”

Last May, more than 150 missing children were rescuedmissing children were rescued in North Carolina, and some were victims of human trafficking.

In March 2022, another 150 missing and endangered children were recovered in Tennessee during “Operation Volunteer Strong,” a joint mission by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Department of Children’s Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Anyone with information about missing or endangered children should contact their local police department or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost.

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