A four-week operation involving multiple agencies led to 16 missing children being recovered, including two from Bucks County.
The U.S. Marshals Service in Philadelphia teamed up with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and Bucks County Children Youth Services for Operation Safeguard. The operation focused on human trafficking and recovering missing children. The operation ran from February 15 to March 15.Officials said at least two missing kids from Bucks County were located as part of the operation. One was recovered in the Levittown area and one in New Jersey.
In total, investigators took on the cases of 26 missing kids, with 16 being recovered. Four of the recovered children are part of active child sex trafficking investigations, which are supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and other local agencies.
The Philadelphia Police Department and FBI aided the U.S. Marshals’ efforts.
The U.S. Marshals Service tackled cases that were “considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions,” according to a press statement.
“I applaud the exceptional cooperation among our respective agencies in combating this most abhorrent affront to society,” said Eric Gartner, U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Our hope is for a better future for the 16 children we recovered; our resolve remains steadfast in finding other children in peril.”
The 2015 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act authorized federal U.S. Marshals to assist local, state, and other federal agencies with the recovery of missing, endangered, or abducted children.
Since 2015, the U.S. Marshal Service has recovered 1,700 missing kids across the country, the agency said in a statement.
Report a correction via email | Editorial standards and policies