Forty-five missing children were recovered and at least 179 arrests were made after a monthlong investigation cooperated between the law enforcement agencies in Ohio in what was dubbed as " Operation Autumn Hope."
According to the Office of the Attorney General of the state, a total of 109 victims of human trafficking were rescued and were referred to social services.
More than 50 law enforcement agencies participated in "Operation Autumn Hope," which led to the rescue of the victims and the arrest of the perpetrators. The rescue included the recovery of two children and the arrest of a man in West Virginia.
In a news release, the Southern District of Ohio's US Marshal, Peter Tobin, expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped in the operation, Fox News reported.
He also acknowledged how "Operation Autumn Hope" made a difference in the lives of the victims who were rescued and of those who were a part of it as well.
Moreover, the office of the attorney general stated that more than 70 cases involving missing and exploited children were cleared as a result of the operation.
In a statement, Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force director, Sgt. Dana Hess said that the operation put into focus the extent and severity of potential victims of these exploitations. She also added that it gave law enforcement an opportunity to serve these victims and bring them justice since these people who belong in the vulnerable demographic usually just slip through the cracks.
According to USA Today, the attorney general's office also stated that there were four priorities included in the operation. The said priorities are, "Rescuing victims of human trafficking and referring them to social services, recovering missing and exploited children, apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor" and "arresting male johns seeking to buy sex."
Aside from "Operation Autumn Hope," there have also been similar operations that have happened all over the state of Ohio and the country.
Back in August, U.S. Marshals Service stated that an operation known as "Operation Safety Net," resulted in the discovery of 25 children between the ages of 13 to 18. The said operation is likely to resume in October according to officials.
On top of this, in Georgia, 39 children from ages 3 to 17 were recovered and nine people were arrested during the "Operation Not Forgotten" in August.
On the other hand, during "Operation Homecoming" held in September in Indiana, eight missing children were rescued.
In light of the success of the operation, the US Marshal Service (USMS) stated that in the course of five years, more than 75% of the cases it has received on missing children have already been recovered. They also added that 72% of those were rescued just within 7 days when they were reported missing.
The USMS also noted that more than 2,000 missing children have been recovered by the service since 2005, CBS News reported.
On top of this, Ohio Attorney General Yost stated that "Operation Autumn Hope's" success is not just measured by the number of people that have been arrested but also in the number of lives that have been rescued.