A multi-agency operation in West Texas has found 70 missing children in recent weeks, authorities said.
Led by Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso and the Texas Department of Public Safety, Operation Lost Souls took place over three weeks, from late April to mid-May, the agency said.
The recovered children were between the ages of 10 and 17 and the majority were runaways. Authorities said some of the children were victims of sex trafficking, as well as physical and sexual abuse. Most of the children were in West Texas, but they were found in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Colorado area and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are taking care of our children – our community’s most precious resource,” the official said. El Paso Deputy Special Agent Taekuk Cho in a statement. statement. “HSI is committed to continuing to work with our law enforcement partners to locate, recover, and help heal missing children, while ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for these heinous crimes and brought to justice. justice.”
Authorities said assistance agencies provide services and counseling to victims and their families.
Individuals with information about human trafficking are urged to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.