In an initiative dubbed “Operation Not Forgotten,” the U.S. Marshals Service located 39 missing children in Georgia in just over two weeks, according to the agency. In a press release on Thursday, U.S Marshals said their operation rescued 26 children and safely located 13 others who had been missing.
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Missing Child Unit, the agency's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, state and local authorities, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children worked together to find the children, officials said.
"These missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions," authorities said in a press release.
It continued on to say, "Other children were located at the request of law enforcement to ensure their well-being.”
As a result of finding the missing children, nine people were arrested and 26 arrest warrants were issued. Charges included crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession, and custodial interference, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Last year, USMS helped discover 295 missing children.
"The message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you," director of the Marshals Service, Donald Washington, said in a statement.