U.S. marshals rescued 45 missing children and 109 additional human trafficking survivors during “Operation Autumn Hope” in Ohio.
According to Ohio Attorney General David Yost, it was the largest anti-human trafficking effort in state history.
“Our Human Trafficking task forces — local law enforcement teaming up with the state — conducted a massive statewide sting last week,” Yost tweeted. “Operation Autumn Hope is the largest single HT operation in state history. Our goal: an Ohio where no human is bought or sold.”
An Operation Against Human Trafficking
A news release described Operation Autumn Hope as “a multi-agency enforcement operation focused on human trafficking and the location and recovery of missing and exploited children.”
The news release also mentioned that the U.S. Marshals Service Offices in Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia were “in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.”
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Fox News reported that according to Yost, 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including 45 “by physical recovery by the U.S. Marshals Service.”
Additionally, according to USA Today, the operation led to 179 arrests.
“My thanks to all personnel who have stepped up for this operation,” said Peter Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio. “I know ‘Operation Autumn Hope’ has made a difference in a lot of young lives,” Tobin then added.
“These vulnerable members of our population usually slip through the cracks,” Sgt. Dana Hess, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, also in a statement. “This operation highlighted the vast number of potential victims and allowed law enforcement the opportunity to make contact and link them to services,” Hess also mentioned.