33 Missing LA Children Recovered in Multi-Day Joint Agency Efforts Named Operation Lost Angels
In January, a coalition of security forces and non-governmental agencies came together to release 33 missing children in Los Angeles. Child trafficking is a crime that has grown in recent years.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This year, Operation “Lost Angels” has been carried out -- An effort of at least a dozen agencies and non-governmental organizations over several days, beginning on January 11.
The result of this effort was the recovery of 33 missing LA children. Although the exact details of the "Lost Angels" operation have not been disclosed, it emerged that some of the children had been victims of abuse and exploitation.
Kristi K. Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, made the announcement last week. He explained that some of the children had been recovered on previous occasions and were in a vulnerable situation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) teamed up with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and a dozen other law enforcement agencies. Non-governmental organizations also collaborated to identify and locate the children.
An investigation in Southern California dubbed "Operation Lost Angels" found 33 missing children in recent weeks, including two youths found multiple times at commercial sex-trafficking locations: https://t.co/ucf0FI4N0p— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) January 25, 2021
In addition to the recovery of the children, the operation's first result was the capture of a person with charges of suspected human trafficking. Multiple investigations were also opened.
Some of the recovered minors have criminal and misconduct charges. One of the rescued children is the victim of kidnapping by a parent who does not have custody.
Operation "Lost Angels" began Jan. 11 and involved more than two dozen agencies in an effort to identify and find missing children, the FBI said. https://t.co/frbHrqJnI2— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 23, 2021
HELP THE VICTIMS
During this operation, the victims were also offered help and information about available resources for accommodation, childcare, continued education, and healthcare, among others.
Other organizations and agencies dedicated to advocating for children's rights, such as The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the California Department of Child & Family Services, were also there providing their services.
Operation “Lost Angels”— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 24, 2021
33 missing children recovered, 8 being sexually exploited
A partnership amongst the LAPD, @LASDHQ, @FBILosAngeles & more than two dozen agencies, united for one cause—to end the vicious cycle of human trafficking. https://t.co/WD0Y50TmVH
CASES ON THE RISE
Crimes related to human trafficking and human exploitation in all its forms have registered an increase in recent years, according to the information handled by the FBI.
This agency has registered more than 1800 cases pending investigation on crimes related to human trafficking that involve minors who have been exploited by November 2020.
33 missing children rescued in massive LA-based human trafficking operation, FBI said Friday. https://t.co/uSxoWVsVtA— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 23, 2021
It is common that some of the victims who are recovered in the operations fall back into the hands of the networks that traffic them. Sometimes this return to the abusive condition is by coercion, and sometimes it's voluntary.
Often, victims do not identify themselves as victims. They do not understand that they are being abused and put to work in conditions that are not right or lawful.
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