A one-day sweep by multiple law enforcement agencies in Wayne County, Michigan, resulted in the recovery of 123 missing children, the U.S. Marshals Service is now reporting.
The sweep, which took place on September 26, was dubbed Operation MISafeKid.
The successful operation involved the Detroit, Michigan, missing child recovery unit of the U.S. Marshals sex offender investigations branch, which coordinated “with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — Office of Inspector General; the Michigan State Police; and law enforcement officers from several other Wayne County agencies,” the Detroit Free Press noted.
MORE NEWS: Why the riots?
The effort was aimed in particular at locating victims of sex trafficking, said that publication.
Out of 301 missing children case files, 123 children were identified and recovered safely in one day.
“Three cases were identified as being possible sex trafficking cases, and one homeless teen was transported back to the command post after it was discovered that he had not had anything to eat in three days. He was then debriefed and turned over to Child Protective Services for aftercare,” the U.S. Marshals Service said in its news release.
The agency said the sweep was the first operation of its kind in Wayne County.
“The message to the missing children and their families that we wish to convey is that we will never stop looking for you,” the release said.
Breaking news out of Wayne County, Michigan:
— Biometrica Systems (@biometrica_inc) October 9, 2018
Every year an estimated 1.6 to 2 million children and youth run away from home — and of those runaways, “at least 800,000 will be lured into commercial sexual exploitation,” noted Human Trafficking Search.
While most runaways will eventually return home or to foster care placements within a few weeks, one in three runaways will be lured into commercial sexual exploitation within 48 hours of being alone and vulnerable on the streets, that digital publication also said.
“There is a close connection between runaways who end up homeless and foster care youth who end up homeless because they age out of the system (usually at the age of 18),” the website indicated.
The amount of time spent homeless is the link between runaways and sex trafficking.
Commercial sex trafficking usually starts as something called “survival sex,” or exchanging sex for food, shelter, drugs or alcohol.
Noteworthy is the statistic that children and youth who are not living with their biological parents are 10 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than those who are living with one or more biological parents, said the publication.
See more about children who run away from their foster homes in the video below.