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33 Missing Children Found

FBI leads California effort against human trafficking
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2021 11:25 AM CST

(Newser) – An investigation launched during Human Trafficking Awareness Month found 33 missing children in Southern California, the FBI announced. One person was arrested on California human trafficking charges, USA Today reports. Eight of the children were being sexually exploited when they were found, officials said, and others were exploited in the past. Some of the minors face charges for misdemeanors such as robbery and probation violations. Two of the victims were found more than once; the FBI said victims sometimes return to commercial sex trafficking—voluntarily or by coercian or force.

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"This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation," the FBI said, per CNN. "Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they're being trafficked." The multiagency investigation, which began Jan. 11, has now led to the opening of more investigations. A similar campaign led by the US Marshals Service located 27 children in Virginia last fall. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center's hotline is 888-373-7888, and its website is here. (Read more human trafficking stories.)

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