OHIO — A U.S. Marshals task force in Ohio rescued 45 missing children and 109 additional human trafficking survivors during “Operation Autumn Hope,” the state’s attorney general announced.
Ohio Attorney General David Yost said it was the largest anti-human trafficking effort in state history, Fox reported.
“Our Human Trafficking task forces – local law enforcement teaming up with the state – conducted a massive statewide sting last week,” Yost wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Operation Autumn Hope is the largest single HT operation in state history. Our goal: an Ohio where no human is bought or sold.”
Our Human Trafficking task forces — local law enforcement teaming up with the state — conducted a massive statewide sting last week.
Operation Autumn Hope is the largest single HT operation in state history. Our goal: an Ohio where no human is bought or sold.
Details at 10
— Dave Yost (@Yost4Ohio) October 26, 2020
Yost said 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including 45 “by physical recovery by the U.S. Marshals Service.” Marshals from Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia were involved with the operation, according to a statement from the Marshals’ offices.
“Over the past five years, the USMS has recovered missing children in 75% of the cases it has received,” the Marshals statement read. “And of those recovered, 72% were recovered within seven days.”
“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enhanced the U.S. Marshals’ authority to assist federal, state and local law enforcement with the recovery of missing, endangered or abducted children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved.”
The major operation was undertaken in conjunction with state and local agencies, with support by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A statement by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office listed dozens of additional agencies that contributed to the operation.
A total of 179 arrests were made on a slew of charges. Law enforcement officers gave a more thorough accounting of the charges during a video press conference.