In Michigan, 123 missing children were found in a massive sweep involving multiple law enforcement agencies dubbed Operation MISafeKid.
The initiative was conducted on Sept. 26, with a strong focus placed on locating victims of sex trafficking, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.
A total of 301 case files were investigated, and 123 children were safely recovered during the one-day operation.
"All of the children located were interviewed about potentially being sexually victimized or used in a sex trafficking ring during their period of time that they were deemed missing," the news release said.
Three were flagged as possible sex trafficking cases. A homeless teen who hadn't eaten in three days was turned over the child protective services, according to the news release.
The search involved the U.S. Marshals Service - Detroit Missing Child Recovery Unit, U.S. Marshals Service Sex Offender Investigations Branch, Michigan State Police and law enforcement officers from Wayne County agencies.
According to non-profit organization, Ark of Hope for children, 2012 data showed that 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men were bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex.
This number jumps to between 2 million and 4 million when internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates and, of those cases, 50 percent of those victims are estimated to be children.
Miriam Rocah, a former federal prosecutor, noted that there seems to be an explosion of sexual exploitation of children.
"What happened was that the Internet made online child pornography much more relevant, and the ability of child predators to meet and exploit children," Rocah said, according to the Medium. "That's how you get what I would call really an explosion."
"Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America, and at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, we're working to combat this problem every day," added John Clark, the center's CEO.
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