The FBI has recovered 33 children in a joint agency operation to recover missing children.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Operation Lost Angels was a recent initiative that aimed to identify, locate, and recover missing children, particularly those who were suspected of being sexually exploited. The operation began on January 11 this year and was part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The initiative was successful in finding 33 missing children, eight of whom were being sexually exploited at the time of rescue.
Some of the other children found had been sexually exploited in the past, and some were classified as vulnerable missing children before their recovery. Some of the children were also arrested for probation violations, robbery, or other misdemeanors. The operation resulted in the arrest of one suspected human trafficker and the opening of multiple investigations.
The FBI reports that their "caseload for both sex and labor trafficking-related crimes has increased significantly in the past several years. As of November 2020, there were more than 1,800 pending trafficking investigations, including those involving minors exploited through commercial sex trafficking." In the year 2020, the FBI initiated 664 human trafficking investigations nationally, resulting in the arrests of 473 people.