The U.S. Marshals Service announced they found 39 missing children in Atlanta and Macon, Ga., during a news conference Thursday. Photo courtesy of FBI Atlanta/Twitter
Aug. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Marshals said they have found 39 missing children in a two-week operation this month in Atlanta and Macon, Ga.
The search, dubbed "Operation Not Forgotten," resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children and arrest of nine people, a U.S. Marshals statement said Thursday.
"The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission," Donald Washington, the director of the Marshals Service said in the statement. "The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you."
Investigators also cleared 26 arrest warrants, including warrants for the nine arrested, and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference.
The missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk in the area based on factors such as child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions, the statement added. The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit worked in conjunction with the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The FBI says a child goes missing in the United States every 40 seconds.
Since U.S. Marshals partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2005, the agency has recovered more than 1,800 missing children.