ATLANTA (WTHR) — The Atlanta office of the FBI has announced 231 missing or exploited children are safe again after an effort called Operation Safe Summer.
From May 1 to May 24, federal, state and local law enforcement collaborated to combat child exploitation ahead of the summer months.
“Thanks to the month-long efforts of our partners, 231 children are no longer vulnerable to predators who would seek to exploit them,” FBI Atlanta special agent in Chris Hacker said in a statement.
FBI Atlanta said children are especially vulnerable during the summer because they aren’t in school and spend more time online.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reveals some striking statistics about missing children:
- More than 23.500 runaways were reported in 2019. One in seven of those were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
- In 2016, 11 percent of endangered runaways were believed to be involved with gangs.
In March 2019 — two months before the operation started — more than 400 children were missing or had run away in the metro Atlanta area.
The FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking task force led the operation, with help from various state agencies and local police departments.