150 missing children have been rescued in a massive, historic child trafficking bust in Tennessee, authorities announced Wednesday.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) hailed the success of the months-long operation named “Operation Volunteer Strong.”
The TBI said it launched the operation in an attempt to track down over 240 missing kids, WVLT reported.
Authorities said the joint law enforcement operation recovered children who were the victims of human trafficking aged from 3 to 17 years old.
“I hope this operation changes the course for 150 young lives and leads them to the path of opportunities every child deserves,” said Tyreece Miller, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee.
“Our efforts should also serve notice to those who prey on society’s most vulnerable that these children are not forgotten.”
Another 90 children still remain missing, according to a statement by the TBI.
“We can’t give up. We need the public, the media, and all law enforcement to not give up,” said Denny King, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Tennessee.
“If you see something, or know something, say something.“
“We cannot give up and stop searching for our most vulnerable and those who cannot help themselves.”
“After identifying 240 missing children statewide, TBI intelligence analysts compiled thorough information and potential leads on each, which designated law enforcement teams carefully pursued during two-week blitzes in each of Tennessee’s three grand regions,” the TBI stated.
Breitbart.com reports: According to Shelly Smitherman, TBI’s assistant special agent in charge, those found ranged from ages three to seventeen.
“In the Middle Tennessee region, which includes Nashville, the TBI reported 72 missing children were identified and 42 of them were recovered,” according to the WKRN, which added that officers identified one child as a potential human trafficking victim.
“We can’t give up. We need the public, the media, and all law enforcement to not give up,” Denny King, U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Tennessee, explained.
“If you see something, or know something, say something. We cannot give up and stop searching for our most vulnerable and those who cannot help themselves,” he continued.
Tyreece Miller, U.S. marshal for the Western District of Tennessee, said he hoped the operation changed the course of the children’s lives for the better.
“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,” he stated.
The majority of the children will receive services through the state’s Department of Children’s Services, which may include foster home placement, group homes, or additional specialized care, the TBI’s press release concluded.
Last month, Missouri law enforcement officials rescued eight human trafficking victims.
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