PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In what is believed to be the largest anti-human trafficking operation in state history, Ohio authorities say they recovered 45 missing children, and more 100 other human trafficking survivors.
The operation, called “Autumn Hope” was a multi-agency raid spearheaded by the U.S. Marshals Service reports WBNS, it also included 50 law enforcement agencies.
During the operation, 169 arrests were also made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
Ohio Attorney General David Yost said this is the largest anti-human trafficking effort in state history.
“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil,” Yost said in a press conference. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”
USMS officers in Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia worked with Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force to find the missing and exploited children during the October mission.
“Autumn Hope” also led to the discovery of a loaded gun during the recovery of a 15-year-old who who is suspected in several shootings and a homicide, WBNS reports.
Last month, “Operation Safety Net” resulted in authorities locating 35 missing children, some who were tied to human trafficking.
Authorities say “Operation Safety Net” was a success, as they found 35 missing kids between the ages of 13 and 18.
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Marshals Service announced the end of a two-week operation in Georgia that resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children and the arrest of nine criminal associates.
If anything looks out of place with children in your neighborhood or you know of a missing child, you can call in tips to the U.S. Marshals tip line at 1-866-492-6833.