US Marshals recover 16 possible child sex trafficking victims in Atlanta operation

(Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals)

The U.S. Marshals and multiple Georgia law enforcement agencies say they've recovered over a dozen suspected child victims of sex trafficking in metro Atlanta.

The two-week operation in May, called Operation Not Forgotten 2021, was led by the U.S. Marshals Service’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and designed to recover missing children who were deemed "endangered" around metro Atlanta.

At the end of the operation, officials say they recovered 20 children, 16 of which are believed to have been victims of sex trafficking.

SEE ALSO: U.S. Marshals recover 39 missing children in Georgia operation

"I strongly believe this model is the most effective example of how we as an agency should be approaching this mission," said U.S. Marshals Missing Child Unit Chief Darby Kirby. "Everyone who participated in the op played a vital role in recovering these children."

The operation was the third of its kind in metro Atlanta, officials said.

(Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals)

"Our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit was proud to again partner with our local, state and federal partners on Operation Not Forgotten 2021, and we appreciate the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force for coordinating this initiative," said Attorney General Chris Carr. "Being embedded throughout the duration of this op allows our prosecutors and investigators to build the strongest possible cases against buyers and traffickers and allows our victim advocate to ensure those rescued get the critical rehabilitative resources that they need. We will continue to find strategic opportunities like this to recover victims and put criminals behind bars."

Officials say one case from Operation Not Forgotten 2020 just had an indictment of a defendant on three counts of trafficking of a person for sexual servitude.

Investigators expect multiple criminal prosecutions to come from this year's operation.

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