Homeland Security recovers 70 missing children in West Texas operation
EL PASO, Texas (KCBD) - Seventy missing children were recovered in a three-week operation called “Operation Lost Souls.” Homeland Security Investigations El Paso reports most of the missing children were found in West Texas.
The children were found in Midland, Odessa, El Paso, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Colorado, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The operation ran from the end of April through mid-May in El Paso, Midland, Ector, and Tom Green Counties. Many of the children were runaways and were between the ages of 10 and 17. Some children were victims of sex trafficking, and physical and sexual abuse.
Agencies have provided victim services and counseling to the recovered children and their families.
“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are looking out for our children - our community’s most precious resource,” said HSI El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho. “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.”
Assisting agencies included the following: HSI Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Attache Office, West Texas Anti-Gang Center, Texas Highway Patrol, El Paso Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, El Paso County Constables, Socorro (Texas) Police Department (SPD), Department of Family and Protective Services, El Paso Independent School District Police Department, Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, and the Juvenile Probation Department.
These agencies also assisted: San Angelo (Texas) Police Department, Tom Green (Texas) County Sheriff’s Office, Odessa (Texas) Police Department, Ector (Texas) County Sheriff’s Office, Ector County Independent School District Police Department, Midland (Texas) County Sheriff’s Office, Midland County Independent School District, Midland Juvenile Probation Department, Advocacy Center for Children of El Paso, Paseo Del Norte Center of Hope, the El Paso Center for Children, Midland Rape Crisis and Children’s Advocacy Center, Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, Midland Memorial Hospital SANE Nurses, and Medical Center Hospital SANE Nurses.
If you have information about a human trafficking victim, or information about this type of criminal activity, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
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