Thirty-three missing children are found in a Southern California human trafficking operation conducted by the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
According to the FBI, of the 33 children found in Operation Lost Angels, eight were being sexually exploited at the time of their capture. Two children were rescued twice, as victims often return to commercial sex trafficking “voluntarily or through force, fraud or coercion.”
“This harmful cycle underscores the problems victims face and those faced by law enforcement trying to prevent victims from returning to an abusive situation. Children may not identify themselves as victims or realize they are victims of human trafficking,” the FBI reports.
“The FBI considers human trafficking to be modern-day slavery, and minors involved in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” said Kristi Johnson, deputy director in charge of the Los Angeles field office.
Some of the children found during the operation had a history of sexual exploitation and were considered vulnerable missing children, the statement said. The operation has launched several investigations into adults.