LOS ANGELES, CA – The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced on Friday that 33 children were recovered throughout a Human Trafficking Investigation known as “Los Angels.”
Fox11 reported on the investigation that focused on the Southern California area.
The Month of January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the FBI worked closely with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and more than two-dozen law enforcement and non-governmental partners to identify, locate and recover missing children, particularly those who have been or were suspected of being sexually exploited and/or trafficked.
Operation “Lost Angels”
33 missing children recovered, 8 being sexually exploited
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 24, 2021
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said that “human trafficking is a pervasive and insidious crime that threatens the safety of our young people, who are the future of our communities. We can only begin to take back the future of our youth with the strong partnerships forged between outstanding service providers and law enforcement.”
Eight of the children were being sexually exploited at the time of recovery. Two were recovered multiple times during the operation while on the “track,” a term commonly used to describe a known location for commercial sex trafficking.
Multi-Day Joint Agency Operation 'Lost Angels' Leads to the Recovery of 33 Missing Children During Trafficking Awareness Month: Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson, of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, announced the results of Operation Los… https://t.co/nbvnJS2El1
— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) January 22, 2021
Several of the victims had been sexually exploited in the past and were considered vulnerable missing children prior to their recovery.
According to the FBI, there were more than 1,800 human trafficking investigations that are pending. The caseload in this area has gone up dramatically in recent years according to the agency.
“The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” said Assistant Director Johnson. “While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”
There are currently 86 Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces ran by the FBI across the country
In 2020, 664 human trafficking investigations initiated by the FBI resulted in the arrest of 473 traffickers.