ATLANTA—The FBI Atlanta Field Office announces the results of Operation Safe Summer (OSS), a collaborative effort by 27 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, led by the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (MATCH) task force.
From May 1, 2019 to May 24, 2019, 231 missing and/or exploited children were located. The operation’s goal was to combat all forms of child exploitation and make our community safer for our children heading into the summer months. The end of OSS coincided with National Missing Children’s Day, May 25.
According to the National Center for Missing Exploited Children (NCMEC):
-In 2018, more than 23,500 runaways were reported to NCMEC and one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
-In 2016, 11% of endangered runaways were believed to be involved in gangs.
It is estimated as of March 2019, there were 419 missing/runaway children on the streets of the five-county Metro Atlanta region.
“Thanks to the month-long efforts of our partners, 231 children are no longer vulnerable to predators who would seek to exploit them,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “Operation Safe Summer is another example of the FBI’s commitment to protecting our children before they become victims.”
OSS was conducted near the start of the summer season to raise awareness and send an important message at a time the community’s children are most vulnerable to becoming targets for exploitation.
The summer is not only the hottest month temperature-wise, but with children out of school, spending more time on line and on their smart phones, summer is also a hot time for sexual predators.
With an emphasis on prevention, OSS concentrated much of its efforts on locating and identifying those vulnerable children before they were targeted by sexual predators.
The FBI would like to thank its many law enforcement partners who contributed to Operation Safe Summer’s success along with our non-government organization partners:
Federal: FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service
State: Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice
County: Cobb County PD, Cobb County Schools PD, DeKalb County PD, DeKalb County Schools PD, Fulton County PD, Fulton County Schools PD, Gwinnett County PD, Gwinnett County Schools PD
Municipalities: Marietta PD, Smyrna PD, Brookhaven PD, Dunwoody PD, Doraville PD, Atlanta PD, College Park PD, East Point PD, Roswell PD, Alpharetta PD, Forest Park PD
Integral to the success of OSS are the following non-governmental organizations who provide care to our vulnerable populations: National Center for Missing Exploited Children, Georgia Cares, Out of Darkness, 4Sarah, Wellspring Living for Girls, Street Grace