El Paso, Texas: The Texas Department of Public Safety announced on Tuesday, June 15, the results of Operation Lost Souls, an operation that saw more than 15 area agencies and non-government organizations partner together in an effort to recover missing and runaway children.
A total of 24 children were located during the operation. Of those 24, three were located in Mexico, another was located in Pierto Rico, one was located in California, and another was found in Oklahoma.
According to their release, "this is the first time more than 15 area agencies and non-governmental organizations collaborated to locate missing children reported through the National Crime Information Center."
The operation took place, primarily, over a week in mid-May, but the efforts to recover additional children are ongoing.
"Runaway children are at high risk of becoming trafficking victims and falling prey to individuals who want to hurt them and jeopardize their health and safety," Special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigation El Paso Erik P. Breitzke said. "We will continue to collaborate and work tirelessly to identify and recover missing children."
"A child sexual assault and a human trafficking case" are currently being investigated as a result of the recoveries according to the release.
"Child sex trafficking and human trafficking are serious concerns for the El Paso community, the State of Texas, and the entire nation, and DPS will not stand by while dangerous individuals commit crimes that harm our children and communities," Orlando Alanis, the DPS Regional director said.