70 missing children rescued from human trafficking operation in Texas
Most of the children who were trafficked were found in west Texas and a few others in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area
May 31, 2022 2:04pm
Updated: May 31, 2022 3:22pm
Law enforcement officers found 70 missing children who were being trafficked and abused in Texas after a three-week-long operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Wednesday.
“Operation Lost Souls” was run from late April to Mid-May by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and several other federal, state, and local agencies.
Most of the children who were trafficked were found in west Texas and a few others in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Some were also found in Colorado and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The multi-agency operation found 70 children around ten to 17 years old. They were victims of sex trafficking, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, according to ICE. Many of the children had been runaways.
“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are looking out for our children—our community’s most precious resource,” said HSI El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho.
The results of the operation were revealed in a press conference on May 25, which coincided with National Missing Children’s Day.
The agency provided the victims and their families with counseling and other services, ICE added.
No arrests related to the trafficking cases were announced. However, authorities said that they are investigating “additional information and leads.” No further information has been released since the investigation involves minors.
“HSI is committed to continue working with our law enforcement partners to locate, recover and help missing children heal, while ensuring that perpetrators are held responsible for these heinous crimes and brought to justice,” Cho added.