(CNS News) — “Operation Lost Souls” successfully recovered 70 missing children, ages 10 to 17, over the course of several weeks in West Texas, minors who were victims of physical and sexual abuse as well as trafficking, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) press release.
The three-week operation involved multiple agencies from the federal, state and local government.
As ICE reported on May 25, “‘Operation Lost Souls’ ran from the end of April through mid-May in El Paso, Midland and Ector and Tom Green counties. The missing youth, many of them runaways, ranged in age from 10 to 17. The children recovered included victims of sex trafficking and physical and sexual abuse.”
“The majority of the children were located in West Texas, but some were located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex as well as the state of Colorado and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,” said ICE. “The agencies provided victim services and counseling to the recovered children and their families.”
“Lately we’ve seen more victims who are being trafficked online, through various social media apps,” said Taekuk Cho and acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations of El Paso. https://t.co/KeXToU5B62
— KFOX14 News (@KFOX14) January 13, 2022
“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization,” said Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho. “In this case, we are looking out for our children — our community’s most precious resource.”
“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,” he said.
Though no arrests have occurred from this operation, “Operation Lost Souls” has uncovered leads that investigators are currently exploring.
ICE reported that counseling was provided to the children and their families.
“At the Department of Public Safety, teamwork is one of our core values,” said Texas DPS Major Matthew Mull in the ICE release. “We are grateful for all of our law enforcement partners who participated in this operation and who work around-the-clock every day to protect our communities, including our youth.”
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