U.S Marshals Rescue 16 Child Victims of Sex Trafficking in Georgia
'Operation Not Forgotten 2021'
U.S. Marshals in Georgia have conducted a series of raids in the recovery of 20 missing and endangered children believed to be victims of sex trafficking, authorities announced.
The mission was led in the metro Atlanta area over a two-week period and was dubbed “Operation Not Forgotten 2021."
Georgia’s Attorney General Christopher M. Carr, a Republican, said in a press release:
“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."
“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,” he added.
“We will continue to find strategic opportunities like this to recover victims and put criminals behind bars.”
The 20 child victims' identities are being withheld for privacy reasons.
In a separate statement published earlier this week, U.S. Marshals announced that 35-year-old Wayne Marcell of Connecticut was taken into custody during a raid that stemmed from “Operation Not Forgotten 2021.”
Another “trafficked and endangered child” was recovered during the process of Marcell’s arrest.
The suspect has been charged with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
“The U.S. Marshals Service in the District of Connecticut would like to commend the hard work and dedication of all the law enforcement professionals involved in this case,” said Lawrence Bobnick, U.S. Marshal for the District of Connecticut.
“With its nationwide reach and investigative focus, the USMS appreciates opportunities such as this case to rescue innocent victims from their abductors.”
Neon Nettle reported earlier this year that 387 missing children were recovered by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2020, according to a top official within the agency.
Chief Inspector Floriano Whitwell, who leads the U.S. Marshals’ sex offender investigations, said:
“Last year, we recovered 387 missing children, and that was the most we’ve ever recovered, almost 100 more than the previous year."
“But I would also emphasize that, in my opinion, we’re barely scratching the surface.”