Nearly 40 missing or endangered children were rescued by federal and state agents in Georgia, according to authorities.
Thirteen missing children were found and an additional 26 endangered children were rescued during a two-week operation in Atlanta and Macon, the U.S. Marshals Service announced Thursday.
The missing children were considered to be “some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases” and some were likely victims of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, abuse and had medical or mental health conditions, officials said.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported 15 children had been trafficked for sex.
“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars. But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child,” said Darby Kirby, Chief of the Missing Child Unit, said in a statement.
“It’s hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to protect them and get them the help they need.”
Nine people were arrested on charges including sex trafficking, parental kidnapping and custodial interference, as well as registered sex offenses and weapons violations.
Those arrested weren't identified.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.