A total of 35 missing children have been found in Northeast Ohio by US Marshals Service during their Operation Safety Net program in the past month. The children are between 13 and 18 years of age and have been listed as missing and endangered with 20 percent of them being cases tied to human trafficking.
In a statement released by the US Marshals Service, they cited valued partnerships with state and local agencies as this enabled them to recover the children whose cases involved abuse, neglect and human trafficking or prostitution. These particular cases have been handed over to Ohio's Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force.
According to records, some of the children had been reported as missing for years. They were found all over the state with one located as far as Miami. Florida. The 35 kids were among the 40 cases referred to the Marshals Task Force as the agency pushes on with their search for the remaining five children.
Prior to Operation Safety Net, there were around 200 cases of missing children in Cuyahoga County. This became their initiative to create a permanent Missing Child Unit throughout the 40 counties of Northern Ohio. Their main focus will be on cases involving missing, trafficked, abused and neglected children.
"The establishment of a permanent unit in Northern Ohio will ensure that our most vulnerable missing children will continue to be found and brought to safety," U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated.
The task force operative is part of a large-scale operation that began in 2019 known as Operation Triple Beam where rescue task forces were launched in several states. This has led to the arrest of hundreds of criminals associated with these child offences. In some cases, the parents were caught prostituting their own children and gang members were found to have kidnapped their own kids from their day care centres.
Chief John Majoy of Newburg Heights stated, "Many times, they do not know they are a victim and this operation offers hope, freedom and safety they would not otherwise have. This is a fine example of local, state and federal partners all working together for a notable cause. Together we can all make a difference."