The Justice Department today announced the completion of a five-day law enforcement effort, dubbed “Operation Find Our Children,” throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia that resulted in the recovery of 27 previously missing children. The operation also confirmed the location of six additional children previously reported as missing but subsequently discovered by the U.S. Marshals Service as being in the custody of their legal guardian.
Led by deputy U.S. Marshals from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, along with members of the U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and special agents, police officers and detectives from numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, more than 60 law enforcement investigators formed the primary team in Operation Find Our Children. They were joined by more than 50 employees from the Virginia Department of Social Services and a team of medical professionals and experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The U.S. Marshals Service is leading the way in a nationwide effort to rescue and recover missing and exploited children, and aid in the prevention of human trafficking. Since 2005, the U.S. Marshals Service has recovered more than 2,000 missing children. Over the past five years, the agency has recovered missing children in 75 percent of the cases it has received. Of those recovered, 72 percent were recovered within seven days.
“The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable children in our society and ‘Operation Find Our Children’ does just that,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “While this Virginia operation is the most recent recovery of endangered and missing children led by the U.S. Marshals Service this year, we have also recovered more than 440 kids in Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and other states. Because of this initiative, the recovered children are now out of harm’s way.”