Though born out of a heartbreaking situation, the news coming out of El Paso, Texas today is truly a cause for celebration.

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of a three-week rescue effort in West Texas called 'Operation Lost Souls,' 70 previously missing children have been found and are being brought back to safety. Also, various agencies are providing "victim services and counseling to the recovered children and their families."

This was organized by "Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso, the Texas Department of Public Safety and numerous other federal, state and local agencies," according to a press release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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This three-week period during which 'Operation Lost Souls' occurred began in late April and continued through the middle of May 2022.

It was carried out in El Paso, Midland, Ector, and Tom Green counties. Ice.gov reports that "the missing youth [recovered], many of them runaways, ranged in age from 10 to 17 [...] included victims of sex trafficking and physical and sexual abuse."

While most of those rescued were found in West Texas, there were a few in DFW, Colorado, and Mexico, as well. The majority of the children were located in West Texas, but some were located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex as well as the state of Colorado and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

In the press release shared by Ice.gov, Homeland Security Investigation El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Taekuk Cho said: 

“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.

 

HSI is committed to continuing 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.”

We are so thankful these young people have been found.

A reminder for all of us:

If you possess any knowledge regarding a victim of human trafficking or regarding those who instigated a crime such as this, you can always reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

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