A task force headed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has discovered and rescued 150 missing children after a collaborative federal and local law enforcement effort.
As per reports, three separate “sweeps throughout the state” were conducted as part of “Operation Volunteer Strong” between January 4 and February 6.
A press release from TBI confirmed that the effort had resulted in a “number of arrests” in connection with the children.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Shelly Smitherman detailed how the victims in question ranged from those who had ran away from home to those “dealing with abuse or exploitation.”
Four of the children were found to be potential human trafficking victims, while a fifth was identified as “a human trafficking victim, resulting in a still-active investigation by a Mississippi local law enforcement agency and FBI.”
The first of the three sweeps is said to have taken place in East Tennessee, during which 56 of 86 missing children were located.
The second sweep, meanwhile, occurred in middle Tennessee, with authorities finding a further 42 of 72 missing children. The third sweep, in West Tennessee, saw 52 of 82 missing children identified.
As per CNN, Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols said: “The sheer number, 150, is praiseworthy, but even more exciting is the reality behind each of those 150 numbers is a child or youth whose life and future might be forever changed.
“The work is transformational. We cannot stop, and there’s nothing more worthwhile.”
Tyreece Miller, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee, said in a press release: “I hope this operation changes the course for 150 young lives and leads them to the path of opportunities every child deserves.
“Our efforts should also serve notice to those who prey on society’s most vulnerable that these children are not forgotten. Investigations will continue and the next knock at the door could be for you.”
Operations like this one remind me of the good people in the world, and the great lengths certain heroes go to so as to ensure the continued safety of our children.
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